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Suspended solicitor had retired

PUBLISHED: 18:24 09 October 2001 | UPDATED: 15:18 03 March 2010

A STOWMARKET solicitor spoke for the first time today about being suspended from his profession for six months - despite the fact he has been retired for nearly two years.

A STOWMARKET solicitor spoke for the first time today about being suspended from his profession for six months - despite the fact he has been retired for nearly two years.

In an investigation that took 18 months and cost thousands of pounds, 53-year-old Charles Landin, who was a partner at Haywards, Stowmarket, was told not to practise for six months - but he had already handed in his Solicitors Practising Certificate.

A Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in London heard how Mr Landin did not have the authority to transfer monies from the client's account into the office account whilst executing a will, even though he was in fact billing his own company for work done.

Despite the work being carried out in 1994, the discovery was not made by the Law Society until early last year. Mr Landin had already been retired for three months when he got a letter through the post telling him he was being investigated for malpractice.

It detailed that he had effectively overstepped his powers that a temporary grant to execute a will had given him. The temporary grant means that the company could not charge for any work done - even though they billed themselves.

Today Mr Landin, of Kestrel Way, spoke of the ruling made, and told how the fine he also incurred of over £5,000 will affect him.

"I have a clean record in nearly 20 years of being a solicitor," he said. "This case was an unusual situation which involved a contested will and it is one out of hundreds that we were dealing with.

"Although I was in a partnership - one of three - I was named as the executor of the will and as the executor the Law Society determined that it was up to me.

"The bizarre thing was that I had retired at the end of December 1999 and this came to light some months later. I had even handed in my Solicitors Practising Certificate that allows you practise, in March 2000. Why they have taken the step to suspend me from practice for six months is strange."

Mr Landin added that he estimates the Law Society must have spent £3,000 investigating the file concerned.

"They managed to hire an investigator from Liverpool so of course all of his expenses had to be paid for. I now owe £5,447. This affects me in a big way. It is extremely troublesome and is an awful lot of money to have to find."

The Law Society is able to look at firms' accounts and records whenever it wants and checks for any signs of malpractice.

Mr Landin was not in court last Friday to hear his fate and was not represented, but the tribunal heard that he had agreed that carrying out the transfer of funds was excluded by the grant.

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