Legal Business Blogs

Former Stewarts Law pair to return to SDT after High Court upholds one finding of dishonesty

Former Stewarts Law partner Andrew Shaw has failed to entirely clear his name in the High Court, which has ordered that the struck-off solicitor return to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) to argue over whether one finding of dishonesty against him means he should be re-struck off the solicitors Roll.

Litigator Shaw and associate Craig Turnbull were both struck off by the SDT in February last year, after a private application alleged they misled the court when securing a freezing injunction against businessman Geoffrey Logue.

The case dates back to April 2010, when Shaw obtained a freezing order against Logue for US company The Complete Retreats Liquidating Trust.

The SDT found that the pair’s failure to give full and frank disclosure that the application was funded by a property tycoon with whom Logue was in dispute was dishonest.

Shaw and Turnbull were represented at the High Court by Mayer Brown, which instructed Timothy Dutton QC and Craig Ulyatt from Fountain Court, while RadcliffesLeBrasseur advised Logue together with John Wardell QC and Andrew Mold at Wilberforce Chambers.

Dutton QC put forward six grounds of appeal against the SDT, including that proceedings were ‘conducted in an unfair manner’ and that the SDT failed to properly ‘apply the correct test of dishonesty’ and ‘set out its reasons’.

While setting aside the majority of allegations of dishonesty against Shaw and Turnbull, the SDT will now be asked to reconsider whether an upheld finding of dishonesty in relation to one affidavit means they will be struck off. 

Sitting in the Administrative Court Mr Justice Jay concluded: ‘Accordingly, this appeal must be relisted for short further argument dedicated to the issue of whether the upheld finding of dishonesty on the part of both Appellants in relation to the eighth affidavit of Mr Shaw (and, to the extent it matters, the less serious finding in relation to the misuse of confidential information) renders it inevitable that both should be struck off the Roll.’

In the mean time the SDT’s order striking off the pair has been overturned and a statement from Stewarts Law said: 

‘We are carefully reviewing the Judgment of the High Court following the Appeal brought by former partner Andrew Shaw and former assistant solicitor Craig Turnbull in this extremely complex case.

The Court has overturned the SDT’s decision to strike off both Andrew and Craig and has remitted the matter to a differently constituted SDT to consider afresh the findings set aside and to consider the appropriate sanction for those findings upheld.

We take the matters raised in the judgment seriously. We have an outstanding and unblemished record in high value and complex litigation and will ensure that the errors made in this case are not repeated.’