In a significant development within the legal profession, Rajinder Heer, a solicitor who played a pivotal role at Coventgate Law, has been removed from the profession by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) after he was found to have lied about his firm’s insurance status.  

Heer’s deceit not only compromised the firm’s compliance with the professional indemnity insurance requirement but also involved misleading regulatory body, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), along with several other parties. 

The Case Unfolds 

Rajinder Heer, who had been practising since November 2013, was a major shareholder and one of the three directors of Coventgate Law, an alternative business structure located in Rochester, Kent. As a compliance officer, Heer was at the heart of the firm’s regulatory obligations. However, his actions soon led to severe repercussions. 

The saga began when Coventgate Law’s professional indemnity insurance lapsed on 10 July 2021, propelling the firm into an extended policy period (EPP) that restricted it from accepting new clients after 30 days. The firm’s failure to secure new insurance by the cessation period’s end on 10 October 2021 rendered it unable to practice law legally. Attempts by Mr Heer to establish a new legal firm were thwarted by the SRA, adding to the firm’s dilemmas. 

Discovery and Investigation 

The issue came to light in late December 2021 when another law firm inquired about Coventgate’s status, prompting an SRA investigation. The probe revealed that despite the insurance lapse, Heer’s firm continued to represent three clients, leading to the SRA shutting down the firm in early 2022. 

Heer’s subsequent statements to the SRA were found to be dishonest. He claimed to have ceased all legal work on the affected files and to be in the process of advising clients to seek representation elsewhere, both of which were untrue. The tribunal highlighted Heer’s attempts to mislead the SRA and conceal his failure to comply with professional obligations as deliberate and dishonest. 

Tribunal’s Verdict 

The SDT concluded that Heer’s actions constituted multiple breaches of professional conduct, including dishonesty and violation of the accounts rules. Despite Heer’s claims of personal distress and confusion over the rules, the tribunal found no excuse for his dishonesty. 

In its decision, the SDT emphasised the seriousness of Heer’s misconduct, which was aimed at concealing the truth of his insurance status and his compliance with professional standards. As a result, Rajinder Heer was struck off the roll of solicitors and ordered to pay costs amounting to just under £11,000, marking a stern reminder of the importance of honesty and integrity within the legal profession.