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Ben Hubble QC

Disciplinary

Ben regards his disciplinary work as a natural extension to his professional liability work. Indeed, claims often require a holistic approach where both the liability and the disciplinary aspects are dealt with at the same time. In relation to his professional disciplinary work, Ben is named as a leading Silk in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. He enjoys the recommendation in the Legal 500 as being the lawyer to instruct if you are stuck on a desert island and need to work the law to get off it.  His experience extends across all disciplinary and regulatory sectors but he has an outstanding track record in the financial disciplinary area. Thus, he successfully defended the finance director accused of misconduct in the Mayflower case, being the first prosecution brought by the then Accountancy Investigation & Discipline Board, and then went on successfully to prosecute three Chief Executives of the Equitable Life Assurance Society for misconduct. Since then as well as continuing to act for respondent accountants, he has also been retained by the AADB and now the FRC to prosecute claims on their behalf. He is particularly well placed to advise on financial, accountancy or actuarial related disciplinary matters. Alongside that, Ben undertakes work in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and is increasingly brought in to deal with high profile or complex cases in other disciplines.

Examples of Ben’s recent or ongoing cases in the various disciplines include:

-       Accountancy:

  • The Mayflower Litigation where Ben successfully defended the finance director accused of failing to report a black hole in the company accounts to the board; this was the first and remains the most substantial disciplinary hearing held by the (now) AADB;
  • Acting for the AADB/FRC in successfully prosecuting a financial controller said to have manipulated company accounts and misled auditors as to the company’s profitability
  • Acting for the AADB/FRC in successfully prosecuting the finance directors of a high profile short term lender which collapsed with material irregularities in its financial statements
  • Defending a well known accountancy firm in respect of disciplinary proceedings said to arise from inadequate valuations of employer covenants in the pensions context
  • Defending a finance director in respect of disciplinary proceedings said to arise from incorrect accounting treatment of long term contracts
  • Defending a firm of accountants before the ICAEW against allegations that the firm wrongfully paid away a client’s investment monies; after receipt of written submissions prepared by Ben, the prosecuting counsel abandoned the allegations

-       Actuaries: the Equitable Life Proceedings where (notwithstanding the collapse of the commercial litigation against the same individuals and the massive scale of the investigation) he secured findings of misconduct against each of the respondents; this, despite the fact that the respondents called the then President of the Institute of Actuaries to give expert evidence on their behalf

-       Architects: successfully defended architect accused of inadequate professional services and unprofessional dealings with clients

-       Lawyers:

  • misconduct proceedings against an employment solicitor for the payment of illegal referral fees
  • misconduct proceedings against personal injury solicitors for the payment of illegal referral fees
  • misconduct proceedings against conveyancing solicitors for the payment of illegal referral fees
  • misconduct proceedings against conveyancing solicitors for acting on transactions said to bear the hallmarks of mortgage fraud
  • misconduct proceedings against commercial solicitors said to have acted on land banking schemes without advising that they were unregulated collective investment schemes
  • misconduct proceedings against a solicitor said to have misled his client

-       Surveyors: acted for firm accused of failure to preserve client funds; successfully applied to strike out the proceedings on the basis that the RICS investigation amounted to an abuse of process and that the charges were in any event not evidenced.

Ben regularly lectures on professional disciplinary issues to Specialist Bar Associations, insurers and solicitors.