Two shipping lawyers have been suspended from Clyde & Co's London office while the law firm investigates suspected financial misconduct by the pair.

The pair include a partner at the firm and an associate, TradeWinds has learned.

Clyde & Co told TradeWinds: “We can confirm that we have referred two solicitors to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority of England & Wales [SRA] in relation to matters concerning the application of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 and the SRA Accounts Rules 2011.

"The solicitors have been suspended pending an internal investigation. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage."

The SRA Accounts Rules set out principles for all aspects of practice, including the safe and proper handling of client money, as well as legal and regulatory compliance.

UK law firms are required to report all suspected breaches to the regulator.

Once it intervenes at a firm, the SRA usually authorises an application to be made to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), which has the power to impose disciplinary sanctions such as fines or, at worst, can strike lawyers off the roll.

Previous judgments

In a separate case, three London-based Clyde & Co partners were each fined £10,000 by the SDT in 2017 for breaching the SRA rules and money laundering regulations.

Projects partner Nick Purnell and corporate partners Christopher Duffy and Simon Gamblin admitted that they had allowed the firm’s client bank account to be used as a banking facility.

Purnell, and through him Clyde & Co, acted as an escrow agent in transactions on behalf of an unnamed client that "had the hallmarks of dubious financial arrangements or investment schemes" and had no underlying business for the law firm, according to the tribunal's judgment.

Their actions were found to be in breach of a number of regulations under the SRA's Accounts Rules 2011 and the UK Money Laundering Regulations 2007.