A London family lawyer has been struck off after receiving £132,000 during a client’s divorce and then ignoring subsequent requests for the money to be transferred.
Analiza Kjaer, sole practitioner at south west London firm Able Law, received £132,000 from her client, ET, between August and October 2020.
The money was paid into the firm’s client account and was due to be transferred to ET upon execution of the title deeds in respect of the former matrimonial home. Ms Kjaer failed to transfer the funds to ET when authority to do so was given upon execution of the title deeds.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) heard that Kjaer failed to reply to any of ET’s correspondence enquiring as to the whereabouts of her money, except on one occasion, nine days after ET’s first enquiry, whereby Kjaer said:
“… can you let me have your bank details so I have them ready to transfer the funds. I will chase the other side for the release of the money…”
Having failed to hear further from Kjaer after 25th January 2021, ET contacted her ex-husband to check that the monies had been paid. He sent her a picture of three transfer receipts showing that he had transferred the money to the firm’s client account.
Come February, ET had received no further correspondence and none of the monies due to her.
At the date of intervention there was only £64,461.35 on the client account, leaving a shortage of £67,538.65 in respect of monies available on ET’s matter.
Kjaer did not engage with the SRA’s correspondence amidst disciplinary proceedings and did not engage with the SDT. All five allegations against Kjaer were proved. Having breached several SRA principles, Kjaer was struck off and ordered to pay £27,577.90 in costs. ET also reported Kjaer’s conduct to the police.