A senior associate has been struck off after he filed a claim form with incorrect information and later amended it to show a higher level of claim and court fee.

Andrew Paul Rose, admitted on 15 November 2001, was acting for a client, referred to as Client A, in a claim for pain, loss and expense arising out of dental treatment.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal judgment found Rose lacked funds to pay the appropriate court fee and filed the claim based on a ‘significantly lower sum’ to qualify for a lower fee.

Later, Rose amended the claim form to show a higher claim figure and court fee and served ‘what was now a falsified document’ on the defendant. The proceedings continued until Rose was about to leave Chan Neill Solicitors and was handing over his files almost two years later.

Rose admitted the allegations against him and that he acted dishonestly and with a lack of integrity. He said he ‘deeply regretted his actions’. The SDT acknowledged he ‘made full and frank admissions to the SRA at an early stage and had co-operated with it throughout’.

At the time of the events, Rose was a senior associate at London firm Chan Neill and practised primarily in the personal injury department. The claim form came to light shortly before he left the firm, which commenced disciplinary proceedings against Rose. He was dismissed for gross misconduct.

In the initial claim form, the value of the claim was recorded as limited to £5,000 with a claim for injury in excess of £1,000. The SDT said the value of the claim was ‘significantly in excess of £5,000 and potentially exceeded £500,000’.

Rose said he asked the client for the correct £10,000 fee but Client A did not send it and after getting no response from the defendant, he was ‘left with no option but to commence court proceedings’. He considered borrowing money but was in debt and did not feel the firm could pay the £10,000.

In his response to the tribunal, he said: ‘I decided therefore to issue at the lowest level possible for a personal injury claim of up to £5,000 to keep the court fee to the lower level possible of £205. This was in order to minimise the impact on the firm’s finances, whilst making sure the client’s claim was protected in terms of limitation.’

Later, the amended claim form recorded the claim’s value in excess of £200,000. The court fee was noted as £10,000. The claim was eventually struck out on the basis that it had never been validly served.

In mitigation, Rose said he had ‘tried to make amends for what he had done’ including paying the court and counsel’s fee when an application was made to try and rectify the matter.

Ordering a strike-off, the SDT said Rose’s motivation was ‘to get himself out of a problem’. It added: ‘Mr Rose was mindful that not filing the claim jeopardised it progressing, but he ought to have either insisted that the client pay the fee or have spoken to the partners at his firm.’

On costs, the tribunal said the hours undertaken by Capsticks, for the SRA, were ‘disproportionate in the circumstances of this case, the lack of complexity of this fully admitted matter and the duplication’. It ordered Rose to pay £15,000 in costs.