The SRA landing on Just - how it looked.
A solicitor has been struck off for serious misconduct after wrongdoing which included telling a barrister he would be struck down by God.
The Old Testament approach to legal correspondence came to light in a recent tribunal decision against Alvin Just, partner at North London firm Just & Brown.
Just was found to have sent "inappropriate and unprofessional" emails to barrister Philip Noble and to Noble's client.
"I know the plagues will fall on you just like Pharaoh", wrote Just.
Warming to his theme, Just promised the barrister and his client, "your judgment is coming soon beware, and it will not be an easy one, the Most High knows that. Just remember that whosoever diggeth a pit shall fall in it. You and Mr Noble will fall in your own pit sooner than you think".
Unfortunately Just's fulmination was the least of his problems. The tribunal found that he had misled the SRA and deliberately withheld information during an investigation into him, and that "the only appropriate and proportionate sanction, given the seriousness of Mr Just's conduct, was to strike him off the Roll of Solicitors".
One of Just's most unholy errors was to use a single bank account for personal and client matters.
The tribunal heard how, in addition to work-related transactions, there were also entries for "what appeared to relate to Mr Just’s general living expenses, including mortgage payments, VAT repayments, payments in Jamaica" and "payment for dental treatment".
Despite Just's denials, it became rather obvious what he had been up to when a sample of his firm's 'client account' was presented to the tribunal:
When Just was accused of misleading the SRA over his accounts, he agreed, saying, "I was not trying to help the SRA agent for his shortcomings. He needed to ask specific questions. If he did not ask specific questions then I will send him on a fishing expedition”.
The tribunal said it was "an extraordinary response" which "typified the contempt and disregard Mr Just had for the SRA when it was investigating complaints made".
Just kept some fire and brimstone for the regulator, assuring the tribunal that "there is a God in Heaven who sees and knows all, and he will judge the SRA whether they believe it or not”.