A partner has been struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) after he allowed his staff to pursue fraudulent personal injury (PI) claims and presided over a system that treated claims management companies (CMCs) “as if they were the actual client.”
Muzammil Hussain Abid’s fellow partner at Crescent Law, Imran Uddin, was suspended for two years.
Mr Uddin described the consequences of his misconduct as “uniquely damaging.”
The tribunal found there was “clearly a practice of pursuing claims without any regard for clients’ actual instructions” and that Mr Uddin left the running of the PI department to Mr Abid, who was “motivated by the desire to increase revenue.”
The SDT said, “The only reason for putting the status of CMCs above those of clients was to ensure that CMCs continued to refer work to the firm.”
The SDT added Mr Abid “caused and allowed the firm to pursue fraudulent claims and pay out clients’ damages to third parties without their consent”.
Mr Abid was also found to have misled the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in relation to his directorship of a car hire company and “profited from a hire company that profited from the dubious PI claims brought by the firm.”
The tribunal heard Mr Uddin was the senior partner of Crescent Law from 2003 to its closure in 2017.
Mr Abid was a partner from 2007 to 2017 and responsible for personal injury work.
He was found by the tribunal to have pursued fraudulent personal injury claims and allowed damages which should have been paid to the firms’ clients to be paid instead to third parties. He also found to have acted dishonestly in doing this, which he denied.
Mr Abid claimed there were only two instances of the firm issuing claims without instructions, but the SRA said it had identified 54 cases.
The tribunal found Mr Abid’s misconduct was “deliberate, calculated and continued over a period of time.”