The SRA is prosecuting a junior solicitor who was spotted throwing a hearing date notification document in the bin, after she missed the hearing.
Susan Orton, who worked at BPE Solicitors in Cheltenham at the time, discovered that she had missed a preliminary hearing at the employment tribunal. She took the hearing notification documents from the file and put them in the office's locked confidential waste bins, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal was told.
Orton told the tribunal that she "filed" the physical document in the bin in a moment "of sheer panic" when she wasn't thinking straight. She said she needed to get the mistake out of sight, to try to make her panic go down. But a secretary spotted Orton binning the documents, and reported the incident.
The SRA allege that Orton was dishonest as she attempted to conceal the "trivial mistake" by sending a misleading email to the employment tribunal saying that the firm had not been made aware of the hearing date. She also told a supervisor that she could not find the hearing notification in either the electronic or physical files, it was reported.
Orton has denied that she acted dishonestly, and said that she made an "immense mistake but not a calculated act", as she was "thrown off balance" by what had happened. She said that was frightened and confused about what to do.
The SRA told the disciplinary tribunal that Orton also acted dishonestly the day after the mistake was discovered, by telling senior colleagues at a meeting that she was not aware of the hearing notification.
But Orton reportedly said she was "ambushed" at that meeting, as she had been "taken into a room without any knowledge about what that meeting was about". She said "it felt very much like a casual encounter" and "by a slip of the tongue" she mistakenly told her colleagues that she had checked the "paper files", when she had "intended to say" she had checked the electronic files.
The hearing is expected to conclude this week.