Andrew Penman – suspended by Law Society. A SOLICITOR from the Scottish Borders who was once accused by Law Society investigators of faking up evidence in files and deliberately deceiving banks and the Inland Revenue has been suspended by the Law Society of Scotland after a string of scandals relating to his clients legal affairs and dodgy legal practices.
ANDREW PATERSON PENMAN, solicitor with the Kelso law firm of Stormonth Darling Solicitors was suspended late last year by the Law Society of Scotland, who quietly announced Penman’s suspension in the Gazette: Notice is hereby given that the practising certificate of ANDREW PATERSON PENMAN, solicitor, Stormonth Darling, Bank of Scotland Buildings, 8/9 The Square, Kelso, TD5 7HQ was suspended under Sections 39a and 40 of the Solicitors’ (Scotland) Act 1980 with effect from 2 October 2014.
The order announcing Penman's suspension was ironically signed by James Ness, Deputy Registrar – the same solicitor who once defended Penman during a Complaints Committee hearing. Ness - a partner at Austins Solicitors, Dalbeattie, Dumfries & Galloway - represented Penman at Law Society complaints hearings. Ness gave a submission at the time demanding the Complaints Committee change its decision from one of prosecuting Penman before the Scottish Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal – to a slap on the wrist. The move was controversial and heavily reported in the national and local press at the time.
Penman has now been linked to a case in the Court of Session - Ladykirk Estates Limited, Academy House, Shedden Park Road, Kelso, (Ledingham Chalmers Llp) V Roxburghshire AG V Stormonth Darling W.S. Solicitors, Drew Penman, Terry Mcnally and Craig Wood, Bank Of Scotland Buildings, The Square, Kelso, Roxburghshire
Court staff have indicated the case is one of a significant financial claim against Penman and other solicitors based at Stormonth Darling in Kelso.
Andrew Paterson Penman was employed as a Director (SOLICITOR) at LADYKIRK ESTATES LIMITED from 01 June 2007 to 17 September 2012 , Company address: LADYKIRK ESTATES LIMITED ACADEMY HOUSE, SHEDDEN PARK ROAD, KELSO, ROXBURGHSHIRE, TD5 7AL
Andrew Paterson Penman was also employed as a Director (SOLICITOR) at S.P.C. BORDERS from 31 January 2006 to 30 November 2014 Company address: S.P.C. BORDERS 27 MARKET STREET, GALASHIELS, TD1 3AF
It has also been revealed Penman and his law firm are being investigated by the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission & Law Society of Scotland in connection with a number of complaints made by clients where substantial sums of money into hundreds of thousands of pounds along with queries regarding unpaid rent and disappeared funds are alleged.
Solicitor Craig Wood - the only remaining solicitor at Stormonth Darling ‘took ill’ leading to the Law Society closing the firm down. It has since been announced another local law firm, Cullen Kilshaw, has agreed to take on some of the business of Stormonth Darling.
In 2009, Scottish Law Reporter covered a story relating to Ladykirk Estates & Andrew ‘Drew’ Penman – after both lost a legal challenge in Scotland’s Land Court. LadyKirk Estates objected to the transfer of a farm tenancy from an elderly tenant to his younger nephew. Ladykirk had also claimed their ECHR rights had been in breach. Full report HERE
CHEQUERED HISTORY OF BORDERS LAWYER WHO RUINED CLIENTS:
Penman – Originally from Hawick then moved to Kelso to work at Stormonth Darling Solicitors, has been subject to numerous complaints from local clients in the Scottish Borders over the years, One investigation carried out by the Law Society of Scotland issued reports finding Penman had deliberately rearranged evidence before investigating officers took possession of the files in an attempt to prevent the Law Society’s own reporter from investigating the circumstances of the losses. The Law Society investigating reporter found “there was also evidence of what appeared to be a bungled and unsuccessful attempt to put the file into order
Law Society found Andrew Penman deliberately mislead Royal Bank of Scotland, amounting to professional misconduct. Page two of the Law Society report said : “The reporter noted there was a complete failure on the part of Messrs. P. & J. Stormonth-Darling to deal with this matter. They completely failed to acknowledge the instructions they had received from the Royal Bank in this connection and failed to take any steps to deal with the matter. The reporter was of the view that the substantial and unnecessary delays which had taken place in the executry might amount not only to an inadequate professional service on the part of Messrs. P.& J. Stormonth Darling but professional misconduct on the part of Mr Penman the solicitor dealing with the matter up until the time the complaint was lodged with the Law Society on 17th October 1994. Further the reporter was of the view that the apparent deliberate attempt to mislead the Royal Bank in regard to the Banco di Roma account may amount to professional misconduct.”
The Law Society investigating lawyer went onto demand a prosecution of Andrew Penman, saying : “In respect of the extraordinary delays and the repeated failures to respond to correspondence and the apparent, deliberate attempt to mislead the Royal Bank the reporter was of the view that the professional misconduct was such that it would warrant prosecution before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal The reporter was or the view that there had clearly been an inadequate professional service but in the, event of a referral to the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal this would be incorporated into the complaint.”
In several damning verdicts, the Law Society’s investigating officer found that Penman had DELIBERATELY MISLED the Royal Bank of Scotland, while documents involving correspondence from the then INLAND REVENUE now Her Majesty’s Revenue & Custons (HMRC) showed Penman had also deliberately misled tax inspectors after vast sums of money disappeared from the deceased’s estate in an organised attempt by the Executor, a Borders Accountant identified as Norman Howitt to pay the monies over to the deceased’s wife and then into a SECRET TRUST FUND controlled by Howitt himself and revealed in an article on Scottish Law Reporter in 2007, HERE where evidence revealed Howitt had INCREDIBLY even taken possession of the deceased’s widow’s pension book.
Law Society Complaints Committee said Andrew Penman mislead the Royal Bank, was a failure at handling an executry. The Committee’s consideration of the investigating lawyer’s findings revealed : “The Committee expressed grave concern at the way that this executry had been handled by Mr. Penman and the extraordinary delays and the complete failure to deal with correspondence in an adequate manner, The Committee were of the: view that there: had been very poor attention paid to the administration of this estate and that whilst the complainer's uncertainty in certain matters might have caused some confusion there was a general lack of effort on the part of the solicitors to deal with matters in a reasonable manner.. It was noted in connection with the proposed loan by the Royal Bank. to the complainer there was a complete and utter failure to deal with the matter in any way or even to acknowledge the instructions. In connection with the Banco di Roma account the Committee noted the failure on the part of Mr. Penman to deal with matters in a reasonable way. They were particularly concerned at the terms of the letter written by Mr. Penman to the Royal Bank on 29th September 1992 which appeared to be an attempt to mislead the Royal Bank into believing that matters were being actively dealt with when they were not.”
“The Committee concurred with the views of the reporter in this matter indicating that the apparent attempt to mislead the Royal Bank persuaded them that Mr Penman's acting in the matter were so serious and reprehensible as to amount to professional misconduct. The Committee thereafter considered whether the professional misconduct was such that it would warrant referral to the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal. The Committee were of the view that the administration of the executry had been so appallingly badly done as to take the issue out of service into that of conduct and coupled with the apparent attempt to mislead the Royal Bank the conduct was such that it would warrant prosecution before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal. The Committee were of the view that Mr, Penman's acting in respect of the extra-ordinary delays and failure to progress the administration of the executry and in apparently misleading the Royal Bank of Scotland were so serious and reprehensible as to amount to professional misconduct. The Committee determined to recommend to Council that Mr. Penman be prosecuted before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal in relation to the professional misconduct and the service provided and any other matter which the Fiscal feels appropriate.”
The actions of Penman were so severe the Law Society’s reporter demanded Penman be prosecuted before the SCOTTISH SOLICITORS DISCIPLINE TRIBUNAL and struck off due to the seriousness of his actions, however a secret deal was brokered between a key Law Society official, James Ness and the then Complaints Committee to commute Penman’s punishment and reverse the prosecution, thought to be the first & only case of its kind ever happening at the Law Society. The deal to reverse the prosecution was branded “corrupt” by many legal insiders and the wider media.