Solicitor claims errors came as he was tired after working over 80 hours a week
A 79-year-old solicitor at a probate and conveyancing firm has been struck off after overcharging clients by over £470,000.
George Edward Nosworthy was a principal solicitor for Cree Godfrey & Wood before he was struck off.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority became aware of the error in the firm’s accountant’s report in 2019 and intervened in 2021.
Nosworthy was brought before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, to which Nosworthy admitted to overcharging four clients £474,108 in estate management matters.
He explained the error occurred due to him being overworked, as he claimed he worked seven days a week for up to 80 hours. He told the tribunal:
“[He] struggled to control the management and volumes of work, and the increases in the costs of running a solicitors practice, particularly PII contributions, make it difficult to achieve the profitability required to remain a viable practice in the context of cash flow requirements.”
The tribunal ruled that Nosworthy had difficulties in managing the legal practice and that whilst being overworked he failed to keep up with the cash flow of the firm. The tribunal judged:
“GN (George Nosworthy) accordingly billed some matters knowing that the sums were improper. He was often exhausted when dealing with transfers on a Sunday evening and sometimes took monies from the most convenient source when not knowing whether they were properly billable or no. He has accepted such practice as dishonest.”
Nosworthy placed £760,000 into a voluntary agreement to repay the funds incorrectly charged, as well as paying the SRA’s costs of £36,157. In order to afford this, Nosworthy was forced to sell his home and business premises.
The judgement concluded:
“Nosworthy is ashamed that his personal failings in controlling the management of his practice led him to act in the manner that he did. He has shown true remorse and attempted through the sale of his business and personal assets to recompense the losses as far as he is able. By doing so he has affected his family’s financial future but takes full responsibility in that.”