News release

Chesterfield solicitor struck-off for falsifying documents

A solicitor from Chesterfield has been struck off for falsifying correspondence she then presented to solicitors opposing her case, as well as the court that would be hearing the matter.

Joanne Coughlan, who was working at Simpson Sissons & Brooke Solicitors in Sheffield at the time, sent back-dated letters she had created to an opposing firm and to Northampton County Court, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) heard this week. Ms Coughlan was acting in a personal injury case at the time, and lied about the date on the letters to make it appear that she had complied with a court order to submit medical evidence.

When questioned by her firm about the dates, Ms Coughlan initially maintained that she had sent the letters on time. The case against her was brought by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

As well as striking off Ms Coughlan, the SDT ordered her to pay costs of £2,500. She did not attend the hearing in London on Wednesday 5 March.

Gordon Ramsay, SRA Director of Enforcement, said: "Solicitors hold positions of trust, and the Principles we ask them to abide by state they must act with integrity and maintain that trust that the public puts in them. Those solicitors that fail to uphold these Principles can expect to face severe consequences."

"What makes this case even worse is that she misled the court, and that could have had severe consequences for others."

Ms Coughlan has 21 days from the SDT's publication of its decision to appeal. 

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