Former Stewarts Law partner loses appeal against SDT strike-off

A former commercial litigator at Stewarts Law who was struck off the solicitors roll in 2013 has had his appeal to overturn the decision dismissed in the High Court.

Fountain Court’s Timothy Dutton CBE QC acted for Andrew Shaw and was instructed by Mayer Brown in the proceedings, while Maitland Chambers’ Mark Cunnigham QC was instructed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Mrs Justice Carr DBE ruled: “The appeal will be dismissed. This is not a conclusion that I reach with any pleasure. Mr Shaw has had a distinguished career as a solicitor hitherto and that career is now at an end. It is a professional tragedy for him.”

Shaw, who had been hired by Stewarts from Manches in 2009, was struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) in February 2013 following a private prosecution bought by Geoffrey Logue, the property developer and millionaire who had appeared as a defendant in an earlier litigation in which Shaw appeared for the claimant.

In that dispute Shaw was instructed for holiday company, Complete Retreats Liquidating Trust, to obtain a freezing order against Logue. Shaw was criticised in the 2010 ruling over that case. In his judgment Mr Justice Roth said Shaw had shown “a remarkable lack of proper precaution and supervision in the preparation of the documents”.

That ruling prompted Logue to pursue Shaw and associate Craig Turnbull, who was recently qualified, in a rare SDT private prosecution. The former Stewarts partner was accused of dishonestly providing the court with misleading information and failing to disclose the fact that the Guernsey-based CPC Group– which had entered into a third-party funding agreement with the liquidating trust – was funding Stewart’s costs.

Carr J said Shaw had “dishonestly misled the court” in  order to “avoid professional embarrassment for himself and his firm”.

The tribunal made “multiple findings of dishonesty” against Shaw. At the time, it said: “The first respondent had engaged in a dishonest course of conduct which had continued over a period of time. There had been a number of serious failings on his part in bringing material and relevant considerations before the Court and he had deliberately misled the court when his duty, as an officer of the Court, was to give full and frank disclosure.

“In order to protect the public and maintain the reputation of the profession, the only appropriate sanction in the case was that the first respondent should be struck off the roll and the tribunal so ordered.”

Shaw challenged the SDT in the High Court in December 2013 in a move that resulted in Mr Justice Jay recommending that the Tribunal be reconvened so it could reconsider the verdict.

Shaw said the effect of the prosecution had lost him his partnership and caused him to be out of work with no steady or substantial income.

Logue then settled the legal battle with Stewarts in July 2014, leaving the fate of the two lawyers hanging in the balance. There were hopes that the result of the settlement would mean the strike-off would be overturned, however, this did not materialise.

Logue has been involved in a number of bitter disputes in London. He fought a lawsuit over the development of the luxury development One Hyde Parke, in which he sued property developers the Candy Brothers and CPC, Christan Candy’s company, as well Project Grande, the joint venture formed to develop One Hyde Park.

It is understood that Turnbull has no appeal pending. Stewarts declined to comment.

The legal line-up:

For the appellant, Andrew William Shaw

Fountain Court’s Timothy Dutton CBE QC, instructed by Mayer Brown partner William Glassey

For the respondent, the Solicitors Regulation Authority

Maitland Chambers’ Mark Cunningham QC, instructed by the SRA

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