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Over the last 20 years I have committed my life to taking cases which have changed public views about equality and tackled discrimination. My team and I brought many important cases, some of which have caught public attention such as Sally Reynolds’ case against the Little Mix promoters which made it clear that businesses should provide Sign Language Interpreters for deaf customers, Kate Rowley’s case against the Cabinet Office for failing to provide Sign Language Interpreters for Covid Briefings

I established that disabled passengers have priority access to wheelchair spaces on buses and to dancefloors!

I also established that ‘gay gestures’ amount to discrimination.

I have acted for many organisations and for people for free, and will continue to do so wherever possible. During the Pandemic there was an unprecedented need to try to fix important issues for disabled people in a very short space of time. Those needs were more intense than even those faced by non disabled people, there were more of them and the issues were complex and very fast moving.

I managed to ensure that my clients had priority access to supermarket supplies and helped to change the NHS Visitor policy. I also submitted responses to Consultations and set up a free online streamed advice service, all of which I did without charge.

At that time I had a young family with four children at home and a law firm with a team working through weekends, working remotely and with their own families to worry about during lock down. At the same time, the law firm came under serious financial strain when its only funder withdrew from the market. The pressure of all this led me to delegate too much management of the practice and I was unable to find a solution. Fry Law was put into administration.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), as it is supposed to, undertook an investigation into whether I had complied with  my professional obligations as the Compliance Officer for an authorised law firm. Nothing in the investigation related in any way to the quality of my work.  That has never been in question.  Despite my representations, sanctions were placed on my ability to practise before I had the opportunity for a Hearing. I lost my family home, my marriage, my health and my income.

I fully recognise my mistakes and realise now that I could not be both an effective lawyer and a Law Firm owner at the same time. I prioritised being an effective lawyer and delegated management responsibilities.  

In June, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal accepted my explanations and sanctioned me with a fine of £9,000.00 for delegating without adequately supervising the people I delegated to; their mistakes were my mistakes and I respect the Tribunal’s decision.  I was extremely grateful that in order to show their support, many colleagues and former clients attended the SDT hearing.

I cannot now be a Finance Officer in a law firm for the next 3 years.  That was something I was happy to agree to over a year ago.  I am currently waiting for the SRA to remove the balance of the sanctions.  I have learned a hard lesson but my lifelong desire to help those facing disability discrimination and inequality is undimmed. 

I am now looking forward to getting back to doing what I do best. Working on cases which deliver change and improve lives, and helping train the next generation of equality lawyers.

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