Words alone cannot convey my appreciation for your assistance at my hour of need. I am so grateful to God and you for your diligence and professionalism at the tribunal. Indeed, you have proved yourself beyond any doubt that you are a cut above the rest and the best.
Chris is responsible for handling all matters in relation to the regulatory problems of the firm’s accountancy clients. He will operate under the direction of Nick Leale who leads the Professional Regulatory team at Blake Morgan. Chris will work on the day-to-day administration of client files and will liaise directly with clients via email and telephone.
Main areas of practice
Chris has been involved in accountancy regulation since he qualified as a solicitor. Over many years, he has built up extensive knowledge and expertise in the handling of complaint and disciplinary matters. To date, he has represented well over 500 accountants before disciplinary/appeal tribunals involving all the UK’s accountancy bodies. He has also assisted accountants in thousands of complaint and regulatory issues.
The clients for whom Chris acts are accountants in practice, largely members of the ICAEW and the ACCA. He has assisted many hundreds of sole practitioners, together with numerous firms of every size. He has recently received instructions from a large firm who need advice as to whether they are under an obligation to report one of their equity partners to the ICAEW.
After seven years working in the Professional Conduct Department of the ICAEW, Chris set up and ran for five years an advisory service for accountants. He then established his own solicitor’s practice specialising in accountancy problems and general litigation. After 25 years, Chris set up a new advisory service for accountants which he ran for seven years before joining Blake Morgan.
- Qualified solicitor
- Member of the Law Society
- Advised a sole practitioner accused by two former apprentices of using foul language in the office and conducting a campaign of harassment and intimidation.
- Assisted an audit partner who failed to report large deficiencies in respect of client monies held over a three-year period.
- Advised a practitioner who was a member of two accountancy bodies and who, over a number of years, had failed to hold a practising certificate with both.
- Advised a practitioner who had used over £60,000 of client money for the purchase of another practice.
- Assisted a practitioner who had received a loan from a client, but had not followed the regulator’s guidelines on objectivity.
- Advised an auditor facing the loss of audit regulation due to repeated failings to maintain auditing standards.
- Advised a practitioner who successfully applied for readmission to membership, having previously been excluded due to an act of dishonesty.
- Advised a student convicted of sexual harassment of female students at university.
Perhaps the most challenging of cases handled by Chris is in respect of matters involving dishonesty and lack of integrity. Regulators have, in recent years, shown an increasing practice of charging dishonesty/lack of integrity in disciplinary proceedings. Such complaints require very careful preparation and presentation. An adverse finding can have devastating consequences. However, a finding of dishonesty or lack of integrity does not and should not, automatically lead to exclusion, although in most cases, this is inevitable. To cite one example, Chris was instructed in a case where the practitioner who, under considerable client pressure, had dishonestly backdated an audit report. Exclusion was avoided. However, the practitioner was severely reprimanded and fined £25,000.
Chris is an active member of local Rotary club. Organist in local church. Founder and present chairman of the Gustav Holst Society (English classical composer). For 28 years, political correspondent of the bi-monthly magazine Warship World. In 2018 was awarded Maritime Journalist of the Year by the Maritime Foundation presented by the First Sea Lord. Chris is also director and sole shareholder of Accountants’ Defence & Advisory Services Ltd (ADAS Ltd) which provides a service to its 300 or so subscribing members in respect of complaint, disciplinary and regulatory matters. All members are practising/qualified accountants. ADAS Ltd has a team of professional advisers who assist its subscribing members on legal, ethical and technical issues.
"Thank you again for all the hard work and support throughout the process. I am very happy with the outcome."
Insights by Chris