Trainee left unsupervised has training contract declared void

A trainee who was left to her own devices after her supervisor went on maternity leave has had her training contract ruled invalid.

According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, between October 2011 and February 2013, the trainee, referred to as “Ms R,” undertook legal work and held herself out as a trainee solicitor while her supervisor at the in-house legal team where she was employed was away.

The supervisor, Louise Thomson, did not supervise Ms R’s day-to-day work following her departure, nor did she renew her practising certificate, meaning that her eligibility to supervise lapsed after the SRA revoked her certificate in August 2012.

Meanwhile, no other solicitor was appointed to be Ms R’s training supervisor, with no other qualified solicitor at the company.

After Thomson apologised to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, it was acknowledged that her actions “were not intentional or wilful and the SRA accepts that she did not act dishonestly or without integrity.”

She was rebuked and ordered to pay a fine of £2,000, plus costs of £7,685.70.

However, the entire period of Ms R’s training contract was judged not to qualify as adequate training due, “in part, to the fact that she was not adequately supervised while working at the company.”