Strike for the Greater Good: Solicitor Struck off for Dishonesty
May 1, 2019
2 min read
What's going on here?
The High Court has overturned a tribunal decision to fine a solicitor who overcharged for his services, ruling that he should immediately be struck off.
What does this mean?
Dubbed a dishonest “ambulance chasing” solicitor by media outlets, Andrew Good (founder of Hull based law firm Rapid Response) was struck off after Lord Justice Flaux ruled that fining him £30,000 (the original disciplinary decision) was too lenient. At the core of the decision was Good’s sky-high fees and an ultimate finding of dishonesty.
What's the big picture effect?
At the original tribunal last year, around 150 cases were examined. Good’s fees were held to be “grossly excessive” as Rapid Response routinely charged £400 an hour despite the panel finding most of the work should have been billed at between £111 and £146 an hour. Mr Good contended that he had come up with the £400 an hour rate after conducting online research, and that he was entitled to “test the market”. However, the original tribunal did not rule that Good acted dishonestly.
The Solicitors Regulatory Authority appealed the original decision, and earlier this month Lord Justice Flaux ruled that Good should be struck off the Roll of Solicitors after finding that he had acted dishonestly. “Even if Mr Good had a genuine belief that he was entitled to charge these rates, it is difficult to see how that could exonerate him from a finding of dishonesty… in rendering the bills which he knew to be excessive or grossly excessive and artificially high, Mr Good was dishonest in the first place.” He went on to further say that “one of the reasons why, in my judgment, Mr Good’s misconduct was particularly serious, even if he was not dishonest, is that it is of paramount importance that the public and other members of the profession are able to have complete trust in a solicitor when it comes to statements or bills of costs.”
Seemingly not remorseful, Mr. Good issued a statement defending his original position, while expressing his “utter disbelief”. He said that his “legal team are now considering an appeal”.
The message could not be clearer: honesty is still the best policy.
Report written by Mark P
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