The SRA has given Slater and Gordon a fine of £80,000 for disclosure failures which breached client confidentiality.
The infringement occurred in 2014/2015 during the due diligence process of Slater and Gordon's calamitous purchase of Quindell. Slater and Gordon (then known as Slater & Gordon UK LLP) and Slater Gordon Solutions Legal (then known as Quindell Legal Services) both disclosed unredacted confidential documents from client files to other firms, without the consent of the clients. The SRA slapped the two entities with a fine of £40,000 each, as well as total costs of £26,000.
|In hindsight, the disclosure filing system could have been better|
A Slater and Gordon spokesman told RollOnFriday that the firm takes its “obligations relating to confidentiality extremely seriously". He added that "it is important to stress the SRA concluded there was no evidence that clients’ data was released outside of firms regulated by the SRA". But said "we accept the SRA’s conclusion that a breach took place".
Slater and Gordon's acquisition of Quindell's legal division proved to be disastrous, and the firm is now suing Watchstone Group (the insurer that has taken over Quindell) for overstating its financial results prior to the purchase.
It has been a tumultuous few years for S&G. The firm recorded a AUD1 billion loss in the financial year 2015/16 and a loss of AUD546m in the financial year 2016/17. In 2016, its shares were suspended and it had to cut off its UK arm from the Australian business. Last year, the firm agreed in principle to an AUD36.5 million settlement payment to its own disgruntled shareholders. Although some bloggers may say nice things about the firm (when offered £50).