3 reviews and information for Cognitive Law Limited, Brighton

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15a Brighton Place, Brighton, Sussex, BN1 1HJ


Languages spoken English 
Size of firm 7 solicitors


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Legal services at this branch

  • Commercial litigation
  • Commercial property
  • Company / commercial - small businesses
  • Company and commercial
  • Debt and bankruptcy - personal
  • Debt recovery
  • Dispute resolution - commercial mediation
  • Employment
  • Family - divorce and separation
  • Family - marriage and civil partnerships
  • Family - mediation
  • Insolvency and restructuring - business
  • Litigation - general
  • Litigation - small claims


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Compiled from data from the Legal Ombudsman website

16/08/18

Outcome: Delay
To pay compensation for emotional impact and/or disruption caused

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Compiled from data from the Legal Ombudsman website

16/08/18

Outcome: Delay
To pay compensation for emotional impact and/or disruption caused

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Compiled from data from the Solicitors Regulation Authority website

20/06/16

Source: https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/solicitor-check/001273.article?Decision=2016-06-21

Outcome: Regulatory settlement agreement
This outcome was reached by SRA decision.

Reasons/basis
1. Catherine Jane Limbert, formerly of Kate Limbert Solicitors ("the Firm"), 6 Godstone Road, Lingfield, Surrey, RH7 6BW, agrees to the following outcome of the investigation into her professional conduct under reference TRI/1145179-2015.

2. On 8 August 2013, after Ms Limbert?s accountant had reported concerns about her accounts, the SRA started investigating Ms Limbert.

Summary
3. On 16 August 2013 the Forensic Investigation Unit of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (?SRA?) started an inspection of the Firm and produced a Report dated 4 November 2013 ("the Report").

4. The Report identified that Ms Limbert:

4.1. had reconciliation differences on her books of account of around ?30,000 in 2011 and 2012;
4.2. did not maintain proper books of account from October 2012;
4.3. tried to reconstruct her books of account, but could not do so.
5. As at November 2013, the Firm's client account had a minimum shortage of ?33,781.20.

6. Ms Limbert rectified the client account shortfall by the end of 2013.

7. On 24 July 2015 an authorised officer considered the Report and the explanations received from the Firm and resolved that proceedings should be taken at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal against Ms Limbert.

Facts
8. On 29 October 2012 Ms Limbert's accountants filed their report for the period ending 31 March 2012 with the SRA. The accountants' letter stated that the report was qualified and identified a number of breaches, including:

8.1. as at 30 September 2011, the liabilities to clients did not reconcile with client account balances, due to ?13,609.81 of client debit balances and entries totalling ?16,292.79 not being entered onto client ledgers;
8.2. as at 31 March 2012, the liabilities to clients did not reconcile with client account balances, due to ?25,798.20 of client debit balances and entries totalling ?4,511.50 not being entered onto client ledgers.
9. On 8 and 16 August 2013, the SRA's officer attended the Firm. Ms Limbert's books were not up to date.

10. The FI officer attended on 19 September 2013 and 30 October 2013 to inspect Ms Limbert?s books. They were still not up to date.

11. However, at the meeting on 30 October 2013, Ms Limbert produced the following:

11.1. a list of liabilities to clients totalling ?37,907.37;
11.2. a client account bank statement showing it had a balance of ?4,126.13.
12. There was therefore a shortfall of ?33,781.20.

Shortfall: dealing with mother's estate
13. On 18 January 2012 Ms Limbert's mother died. The will's provisions included a 30% share of the estate for Ms Limbert.

14. As at 29 August 2013, the client account was in credit by ?3,685.29. On 30 August 2013, Ms Limbert made the following transfers:

14.1. ?4,200 to herself as beneficiary as part-payment;
14.2. ?6,000 to herself as beneficiary as part-payment;
14.3. ?15,000 to herself as beneficiary as part-payment.
15. This left the client account with a shortfall of ?21,514.71.

16. Ms Limbert admits that she should not have made the last two payments to herself. She says that these were payments which she made in error.

17. Ms Limbert has not explained the reason for the remaining shortfall on client account of ?12,781.20.

18. The December 2013 accounts reconciliation showed that Ms Limbert had replaced the client account shortfall in full.

Remedying the shortfall
19. The SRA sent emails to Ms Limbert on 19 December 2013, 31 January 2014, 12 June 2014, 28 July 2014 and 12 August 2014, asking for copies of accounts reconciliations and some further details.

20. Ms Limbert's only reply to these emails was split between two emails of 10 and 13 February 2014, enclosing a copy of the accounts reconciliation for December 2013. On 20 March 2015 Ms Limbert claimed not to have received a number of these emails.

21. However, the reconciliation of December 2013 showed that Ms Limbert had replaced the client account shortfall in full.

Admissions
22. Ms Limbert makes, and the SRA accepts, the following admissions:

22.1. Making improper withdrawals from client account in breach of rule 20.1 of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 2011 ("SAR").
22.2. Not keeping properly written accounting records, in breach of rule 29.1 of the SAR.
22.3. Not recording dealings with client money properly, in breach of rule 29.2 of the SAR.
22.4. Not making bank reconciliations every five weeks in breach of rule 29.12 of the SAR.
22.5. Not properly rectifying accounts rule breaches in breach of rule 7.1 of the SAR.
22.6. Not delivering the firm's accountant's reports:
22.6.1. on time, for the period ending 31 March 2013;
22.6.2. at all, for the period ending 31 March 2014,
in breach of rule 32.1 of the SAR.

Mitigation
23. Ms Limbert has put forward mitigation which the SRA has considered. The mitigation is of a sensitive nature and there is no public interest in its publication.

Regulatory Outcome
24. As Ms Limbert has admitted the above breaches, the outcome set out below is proportionate in all the circumstances.

25. Ms Limbert agrees to pay a fine of ?2,000 and accept a rebuke for her conduct.

26. Ms Limbert agrees that the SRA may publish this agreement and may disclose it to any other person.

27. Ms Limbert agrees to pay the costs of the investigation, including the SRA?s legal costs, in the sum of ?2,400 inclusive of disbursements within 28 days of a statement of costs due being issued by the SRA.

28. Ms Limbert agrees she will not act in any way that is inconsistent with this agreement by, for example, denying the misconduct admitted in paragraph 22 above.

29. If Ms Limbert breaches this agreement, or if she acts inconsistently in any way with this agreement, she accepts that the SRA may reconsider this outcome. This may include referral of her to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal on the original facts and allegations, and also on the basis that the failure to comply constitutes a breach of Principles 2, 6 and 7 SRA Principles 2011.

The date of this agreement is 21 June 2016.

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