A West London solicitor fined £10,000 by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The solicitor was fined after amending and lodging a property transfer without the knowledge or consent of her client. Laura Sainsbury, who is employed at Prince Evans, committed what the SRA has described as a “serious error of judgment”.

Solicitor Fined £10,000 – Unauthorised Amendments and Submissions

In a notice published this week, the SRA detailed the events of May 2018, when Ms Sainsbury removed the signature page from a form TR1 executed by her transferor client. She attached this signature page to an amended form and submitted it to the HM Land Registry, falsely presenting it as an executed deed.

Adding to the severity of the situation, Ms Sainsbury failed to obtain instructions on the property’s value, resulting in an incorrect figure being entered on the title register.

Delayed Acknowledgment and Reporting Failure

Ms Sainsbury became aware of her client’s concerns in August 2019 but did not report her actions to the SRA. The regulator deemed a fine to be the appropriate penalty, noting that although the client did not suffer actual harm, there was potential for significant loss.

The SRA criticised Ms Sainsbury’s conduct, highlighting her reckless behaviour and the admission that she acted with a lack of integrity. Her failure to report her actions further aggravated the situation.

Mitigating Factors Considered

In her defence, Ms Sainsbury admitted her misconduct and demonstrated genuine insight and remorse. The SRA acknowledged that this was an isolated incident and that she had made efforts to rectify the situation. The solicitor had not acted dishonestly nor intended to circumvent her regulatory obligations, and there was no suggestion of personal gain.

The fine imposed on Ms Sainsbury equates to approximately one-third of her salary, reduced by 15% in recognition of the mitigating factors. This resulted in a final figure of £10,146, along with additional costs of £1,350.

A Reminder For all Solicitors and Lawyers

The news of this significant fine serves as a stark reminder for all solicitors, lawyers and conveyancers about the importance of operating compliantly and ensuring they are doing their job correctly. Authority figures across the UK are keen to ensure all regulations are met, and as demonstrated above, individuals or firms will face the consequences of not following the regulatory guidelines.

The property sector is seeing a change with conveyancing costs rising, and estate agents’ fines for compliance measures are also on the up. It is essential firms and solicitors operating in the property sector understand the importance of compliance with the regulations in place. The regulations in place are extremely tight, and this case will serve as a stark reminder about those fine lines and the importance of trust between a solicitor and their client.


The SRA’s decision underscores the importance of integrity and transparency in the legal profession. Solicitors are reminded of their duty to act in their client’s best interests and to uphold the highest standards of professional conduct.