Proper stewardship of client money is one of the essential tenets of the solicitors’ profession. Disciplinary offences involving the misuse of client money are generally treated as very serious and dishonest misuse of client money will inevitably lead to a solicitor being struck off with practically no prospect of ever being readmitted.

It is quite easy – or at least convenient – to suggest that those who misuse client money should be held to account for their defalcations and to build a regulatory landscape from that foundation. But what of ‘innocent’ partners?

We all know (hopefully) that breaches of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Accounts Rules are matters of strict liability and th...

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