Norfolk legal practice shuts following misconduct allegations

A Reepham-based legal practice has been forced to close by industry regulators following misconduct allegations against one of its former principal solicitors.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is investigating Andrew Gibb for allegedly breaking three professional rules relating to accounts, insurance and conduct.

Mr Gibb's former practice, Purdys Solicitors, has been shut while enquiries are made and an SRA-appointed solicitors firm will deal with any urgent client matters as the agent of the closure.

Known as an 'intervention,' the closure is designed to protect clients' interests and all of the practice's monies are seized along with documents, files and records including client papers.

All files and monies will eventually be returned to clients by the agent, a solicitors firm based in Hertfordshire.

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The intervention was made on the grounds that Mr Gibb, a formal principal solicitor at Purdys, failed to comply with the solicitors indemnity insurance rules 2010, the solicitors code of conduct 2007 and the solicitors accounts rules 1998. It is likely that Mr Gibb's conduct will now be referred to the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal.

In cases involving alleged breaches of accounts rules or the code of conduct, a solicitor's certificate to practice is automatically suspended, according to the SDA's website.

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Purdy Solicitors, which closed in June, was founded more than 100 years ago and previously specialised in non-contentious legal work, such as liquor licensing, wills and property.

An SDR spokesman said it was difficult to say how long the practice would be closed.

Depending on the size of the firm, there could be hundreds, even thousands, of files to be looked at, she added.

Clients can contact the agent, David Jacobs, of Tees Solicitors in Bishops Stortford, on 01279 755200.

The SRA, formerly the Law Society Regulation Board, was established in 2007 and regulates more than 120,000 solicitors in England and Wales.

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