The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has handed down a record fine to a solicitor who took an unfair advantage of his former client.
To view the decision against this individual, click the decision below.
Nigel Harvie, who worked at a firm with his name in Oxford, was fined £305,000 by the tribunal at a hearing last month. The previous highest amount was £50,000, handed down to firm Fuglers LLP, while the most an individual has been fined is £40,000.
Mr Harvie was also ordered to pay £37,016.40 costs at the hearing, held at the SDT in Farringdon Street, London, on 24-26 February. In a prosecution brought by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the SDT heard Mr Harvie admit that:
He entered into a financial arrangement with a former client without advising her to take independent advice, and where his own interests conflicted or potentially conflicted with the interests of the former client
He acted towards his former client in a way that was contrary to his position as solicitor
Mr Harvie denied that he used his position as a solicitor to take unfair advantage for himself or another party, but the SDT upheld this allegation as well.
In return for paying for the care and living costs of a lady, for whom he had acted previously, Mr Harvie acquired ownership of her house. The house was valued at £300,000 in 2005 when the arrangement began and over the next five years, Mr Harvie paid out in the region of £200,000.
The house was never valued again and the arrangement came to an end in 2010 when the former client died. The Land Registry recorded the value of the house at £800,000 in 2012.