SRA abandons prosecution of junior solicitor who lost briefcase

Regulator drops case towards Claire Louise Matthews in gentle of new medical proof

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has withdrawn its prosecution of a junior solicitor who left a briefcase containing delicate consumer recordsdata on a practice.

The regulator right this moment confirmed that having reviewed all of the proof within the case towards Claire Louise Matthews, together with new medical proof, a re-hearing of the allegations towards her wouldn’t be within the public curiosity.

Common Authorized Cheek readers will recall the case of Matthews, who was just some weeks out of her coaching contact when, in Could 2018, she misplaced the confidential consumer docs after which “panic-stricken”, lied about it to colleagues.

The ex-Capsticks lawyer got here clear 24 hours later, however the disciplinary tribunal sided with the regulator that Matthews had been dishonest. She was struck off after a four-day listening to in April 2020, regardless of revealing a historical past of psychological well being issues.

Matthews subsequently launched a crowdfunding marketing campaign in try to overturn what many considered was harsh a choice. The younger lawyer additionally obtained assist from a crack workforce of attorneys, all of whom have been appearing professional bono, after it emerged she had represented herself all through the unique case.

We reported in March 2021 that Matthews had secured a contemporary listening to after her authorized workforce “obtained and shared expert medical evidence”.

Just a little over a 12 months on the SRA right this moment confirmed it had dropped the case towards Matthews.

A spokesperson for the regulator stated that through the course of the attraction, Matthews produced new professional medical proof diagnosing circumstances related to her psychological well being, which had not been accessible to the SRA or the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal within the earlier proceedings.

They added that the regulator then obtained its personal professional medical proof diagnosing circumstances related to Matthews’ psychological well being and “having then reviewed all of the evidence in the matter, including the new medical evidence, the SRA concluded that, in the very particular circumstances of the case, a re-hearing of the allegations against Ms Matthews would not be in the public interest”.

The spokesperson continued:

“Ms Matthews and the SRA agreed to the conditions that would be placed on Ms Matthews’ practising certificate and, on that basis, the SRA obtained the consent of the SDT to withdraw all of the allegations against Ms Matthews, with no order as to costs. The proceedings are therefore now concluded.”

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