Fraud probe as regulators shut down 200-year-old law firm

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has intervened to force a city law firm to officially close down.

Thursday, 7th April 2016, 12:19 pm
Updated Friday, 8th April 2016, 11:36 am
The former Dixon Coles and Gill building on Burton Street.

Dixon, Coles and Gill, which had offices in Wakefield and Horbury, shut its doors in January.

But the SRA has now stepped in to formally prevent the firm from operating.

The board, which monitors standards in the industry, said it had “reason to suspect” dishonesty on the part of partner Linda Box.

Dixon - Coles and Gill Bank House, Wakefield Julia Wilding and Linda Box

And it has suspended her from practising as a solicitor.

An SRA spokesman said: “The practising certificate of Linda Box has been automatically suspended so she cannot practice as a solicitor.

“The practising certificates of Julia Helen Wilding and Julian Sanderson Gill [also partners in the practice] have not been suspended.

“An intervention means the SRA has closed the firm with immediate effect.

Dixon - Coles and Gill Bank House, Wakefield Julia Wilding and Linda Box

“It will stop the firm from operating, take possession of all documents and papers held by the firm and take possession of all money held by the firm.”

The 200-year-old practice closed on January 29 and a fraud investigation was launched by police.

A police spokesman said: “West Yorkshire Police are investigating allegations of fraud against a solicitors firm in Wakefield.

“A 66-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with the investigation and has been released on police bail. Enquiries are ongoing.”

The SRA said the firm announced its closure in January without intervention from the regulatory body and was in the process of shutting down.

But it said it had now stepped in to immediately complete the closure and take control of ongoing client matters.

A spokesman said: “We will only get involved if there is a risk to clients and the public interest.”

The regulatory body said it would now complete its investigation and decide on appropriate action.

But it said it would not disclose any further details of the investigation unless disciplinary proceedings become necessary.

Dixon, Coles and Gill clients with any queries can contact John Owen of Gordons LLP by calling 01274 703915 or email [email protected]