Several Harrogate Law firms have been closed down after a regulatory body suspected members of staff at the companies of dishonesty.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has said it has reason to suspect Matthew Cobley, Lucy-Ann Kirkham and Mohammed Khalid Sharjahan – all employees at Legal Development Partners Ltd – behaved dishonestly and has shut down all firms associated with the company.
This includes award-winning Ashworth Law, which specialised in dispute resolution and family law as well as Fortius Legal, Towers Legal, and Go Legal.
All clients and cases have been transferred to Shacklocks LLP in Mansfield. Phone lines at the firms have been closed.
A spokesperson from the SRA said there was no criminal investigation at this stage. They refused to comment on the reason for closure but said the case may go to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal which issues fines and can stopindividuals from practising.
Legal Development Partners Ltd was formed in October 2011 and bought the assets of Ashworth Law Ltd out of administration.
Angela Beck of Beck Solicitors described the situation as ‘a bit of a nightmare’ after the SRA incorrectly said her firm was connected to Legal Development Partners Ltd.
She said: “Beck Solicitors is not part of the Legal Development Limited Group and has traded as a completely separate practice since April 2013.
“We are not now, and have never been part of any investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
“Beck Solicitors is an independent practice, specialising in family law, based in Harrogate.”
She added: “Our reputation for serving our clients in an open, honest and professional way is precious to us and we want to assure our loyal customers that we are not linked to the SRA investigation in any way.”
Mrs Beck said she was very shocked to hear about the investigation but said she didn’t know the employees named very well.
“I know them to say hello to, but Beck Solicitors is independent so I don’t know them well at all and lost contact with them.”
She added: “I have been trading in Harrogate for a long time and my reputation is very important to me. I would like to reassure my clients everything is running as normal.”
Contact Angela Beck at Beck Solicitors on 01765 67664. Any clients of Legal Development Partners Ltd are advised to contact Shacklocks LLP on 01623 423073.