Date
21 December 2020

Charges
Four charges of misconduct against Abu Yousuf were referred to the Disciplinary Tribunal as follows:

Charge 1
Abu Yousuf failed to behave with honesty and/or integrity.

Contrary to Principle 3 of the CILEx Code of Conduct 2010

The particulars of the charge are that in or about August 2011, Abu Yousuf misled or attempted to mislead the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) in his application for admission to the roll of solicitors.  He failed to disclose to the SRA that he had had his consumer credit licence revoked by the OFT on the grounds that he was not fit to carry on regulated debt and management activities in his capacity as director and Chief Executive at Prime Legal and Financial Services Ltd.  He knew, or ought to have known, that such matter would be relevant to the SRA’s investigation into his character and suitability to be a solicitor.

Charge 2
Abu Yousuf failed to behave with honesty and/or integrity.

Contrary to Principle 3, Outcomes 3.1 and 3.2 of the CILEx Code of Conduct 2015

The particulars of the charge are that in or about November 2016, Abu Yousuf misled or attempted to mislead the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) in his second application for admission to the roll of solicitors.  He failed to disclose to the SRA that he had had his consumer credit licence revoked by the OFT on the grounds that he was not fit to carry on regulated debt and management activities in his capacity as director and Chief Executive at Prime Legal and Financial Services Ltd.

Mr Yousuf also failed to disclose that in 2011, his first application for admission as a solicitor had been refused by the SRA on the grounds that he did not have character and suitability to be a solicitor and presented a serious risk to the reputation of the profession and the public.  The SRA had made a finding of dishonesty against Mr Yousuf.

Mr Yousuf knew or ought to have known that such matters would be relevant to the SRA’s investigation into his character and suitability to be a solicitor.

Charge 3
Abu Yousuf failed to behave with honesty and/or integrity.

Contrary to Principle 3, Outcomes 3.1 and 3.2 of the CILEx Code of Conduct 2015

The particulars of the charge are that between March 2015 and June 2017, Abu Yousuf, when he applied to reinstate his CILEx membership and while he was a member of CILEx, misled CILEx Regulation into believing he had not engaged in conduct which he knew, or ought to have known, could affect his suitability for CILEx membership. He failed to declare that:

  • he had had his consumer credit licence revoked by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on the grounds that he was not fit to carry on regulated debt and management activities in his capacity as director and Chief Executive at Prime Legal and Financial Services Ltd.
  • In August 2011 the SRA had refused his application for admission to the roll of solicitors on the grounds that he did not have character and suitability to be a solicitor and presented a serious risk to the reputation of the profession and the public.  The SRA made a finding of dishonesty against Mr Yousuf.
  • Between November 2016 and March 2017, he was the subject of an SRA investigation into his character and suitability to be a solicitor following his second application to be admitted to the roll of solicitors.

Charge 4
Abu Yousuf failed to behave with honesty and/or integrity.

Contrary to Principle 3, Outcomes 3.1 and 3.2 of the CILEx Code of Conduct 2015

The particulars of the charge are that between March 2018 and November 2019, Abu Yousuf misled CILEx Regulation into believing he had not engaged in conduct which he knew, or ought to have known, could affect his suitability for CILEx membership. He failed to declare to CILEx Regulation that on 15 March 2018 the SRA made him the subject of a control order under Section 43 of the Solicitors Act 1974, prohibiting him from being involved in a legal practice regulated by the SRA.  The SRA found Mr Yousuf’s conduct to be dishonest for the following reasons:

  • he had failed to declare the SRA’s previous finding of dishonesty and refusal to admit him to the roll of solicitors to J Stifford Law Solicitors for whom he was working as a self-employed fee-earner; and
  • in his second application to the SRA for admission to the roll of solicitors in November 2016, he failed to declare the SRA’s previous finding of dishonesty and refusal to the Roll and the OFT’s revocation of his consumer credit licence for Prime Legal and Financial Services Ltd.

Outcome
The Disciplinary found four charges of dishonesty against Mr Yousuf proved on the balance of probabilities.

Sanction
In accordance with Rule 30(5)(iv) of the CILEx Regulation Enforcement Rules, the Tribunal ordered an immediate, indefinite exclusion from membership of CILEx, with a direction that no application for readmission shall be entertained for a minimum of 10 years from the date of the Tribunal’s decision.