Top lawyer faces misconduct panel accused of taking money from clients and charities

Hugh Lansdell, formerly senior partner at Hansells, pictured in 2014. Photo: Archant

Hugh Lansdell, formerly senior partner at Hansells, pictured in 2014. Photo: Archant - Credit: Angela Sharpe

A top Norfolk lawyer will appear before a disciplinary tribunal accused of taking money from clients and two charities.

Hugh Lansdell was a senior partner at Hansells Solicitors until August 2017.He left after allegations were made and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) investigated what Hansells described at the time as 'financial irregularities'.

The SRA said on Thursday it was now starting proceedings against Mr Lansdell for potential misconduct.

His case will be heard by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal which will look at five allegations against him.

The 70-year old is accused of:

•Taking client money from an account at Hansells between 2015 and 2017

•Taking money belonging to clients from two bank accounts in June and July 2017 where he had lasting power of attorney

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•Selling assets in February 2016 belonging to a private trust which was his client and then taking the money from that sale

•In November 2016, selling assets held by a charity of which he was the clerk and taking the money from the sale

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•Between June 2016 and June 2017 selling assets of a second charity to which he was a clerk and taking the money from that sale.

The allegations are being heard following an 18-month investigation by the SRA.

Norfolk police also launched its own investigation when allegations were first made and a spokesman confirmed on Thursday that its investigation was ongoing.

An SRA spokesman said: 'If we find any evidence of potential criminality in our investigations, then we have agreement with all UK police services to refer that matter to them for potential investigation.

'We cannot, however, confirm or deny if we have done that in individual cases.

'SRA and police investigations can run concurrently, and we would refer potential evidence of criminality at the earliest opportunity.

'We would not need to wait until our own proceedings were complete before sharing information.'

Hansells said in a statement it had 'worked closely with the SRA' to make sure concerns were 'fully, fairly and properly investigated'.

Mr Lansdell declined to comment.

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