Jonathan Goodwin has been successful in persuading the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) to restore Shadab Ahmed Khan, who was convicted for money laundering offences, to the Roll of Solicitors.
Mr Khan was admitted to the Roll in 1997. In 2009, he was convicted of one count of money laundering and two counts of failing to disclose knowledge or suspicion of money laundering.
The SDT struck-off Mr Khan in 2011, after he was found to have acted with a lack of integrity, but not dishonesty.
How can a Solicitor be restored to the Roll?
Sir Thomas Bingham MR in Bolton v The Law Society  1WLR 512 provided a two-stage test regarding whether a solicitor should be restored to the Roll:
“It often happens that a solicitor appearing before the Tribunal can adduce a wealth of glowing tributes from his professional brethren. He can often show that for him and his family the consequences of striking off or suspension would be little short of tragic. Often he will say, convincingly, that he has learned his lesson and will not offend again. On applying for restoration after striking off, all these points may be made, and the former solicitor may also be able to point to real efforts made to re-establish himself and redeem his reputation. All these matters are relevant and should be considered. But none of them touches the essential issue, which is the need to maintain among members of the public a well-founded confidence that any solicitor whom they will instruct will be a person of unquestionable integrity, probity and trustworthiness… the reputation of the profession is more important than the fortunes of any individual member.”
The first requirement is that the struck-off solicitor must be able to satisfy the Tribunal that they have been rehabilitated. Jonathan Goodwin, of Jonathan Goodwin Solicitor Advocate, submitted to the Tribunal that Mr Khan had attained “positions of trust and responsibility”, details of which were provided to the Tribunal, together with references in support.
Moreover, Mr Khan had been involved in unregulated legal services for a number of years, having worked in-house at a local Council and since 2019 worked as a paralegal at a firm of solicitors, such employment having been approved by the SRA.
The SDT indicated that, although there was a “fine balance” in this case, the particular circumstances allowed it to “exercise its discretion with an element of compassion”.
The Tribunal said, amongst other things,
“…satisfied that this was one of those narrow category of cases where there was a route back into the profession for those who had made demonstrable, credible and real steps to rehabilitate themselves as the applicant had done.”
Regarding the second test referred to in Bolton, that is to say, would restoring the struck-off solicitor damage public confidence in the reputation of the legal profession, it was submitted on behalf of Mr Khan, and the SDT concluded, that not only would the reputation of the profession not be damaged by readmitting Mr Khan to the Roll it “might indeed be enhanced by a demonstration to the public of a profession with compassion in the right circumstances and which embraces genuine rehabilitation”.
In deciding restoration to the Roll should be granted, albeit with certain conditions, the Tribunal declared that Mr Khan:
“clearly reflected on his conduct and had matured in understanding and the Tribunal accepted as credible and truthful [his] assurance that he now had the ability to say ‘no’ to matters which would present him with pitfalls and risks”.
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