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 Neutral Citation Number: [2020] EWHC 3231 (Admin) Case No: CO/658/2020
 IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION DIVISIONAL COURT
Royal Courts of Justice Strand, London, WC2A 2LL Date: 27/11/2020
 Before
:
THE PRESIDENT OF THE QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION
and MR. JUSTICE SWIFT
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Between: Ryan Beckwith Appellant - and
 – 
 Solicitors Regulation Authority Respondent
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Alisdair Williamson QC
 (instructed by Brett Wilson LLP) for the
Appellant Riel Karmy-Jones QC & Rupert Allen
 (instructed by Capsticks Solicitors) for the
Respondent
 Hearing date: 20 October 2020 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
JUDGMENT
COVID-
19 Protocol: This judgment was handed down remotely to be circulated to the parties’ representatives
 by email, released on Bailii and publication on the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website. The date and time for hand-down is deemed to be 10:00 am on 27/11/2020. A copy of the judgment in final form as handed down can be made available after that time, on request by email to the administrativecourtoffice.listoffice@hmcts.x.gsi.gov.uk 
 
Judgment Approved by the court for handing down
Beckwith v SRA CO/658/2020
DAME VICTORIA SHARP P. and MR JUSTICE SWIFT:
 
A
.
Introduction
1.
 
On 30 January 2020 the
Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (“
t
he Tribunal”) issued
its  judgment on complaints of misconduct brought by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority
(“
the
SRA”) against Ryan Beckwith
 
(“the Appellant”)
. That judgment followed a 9-day hearing that had taken place in September and October 2019, which considered a complaint made to the SRA in 14 August 2017. The Tribunal referred to the
complainant as “Person A”.
In this judgment we will do the same. 2.
 
The Appellant was a partner in the firm of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (“the Firm”),
and had been the subject of two complaints, referred to in the Tribunal
’s judgment as “Allegation 1.1” and “Allegation 1.2”.
Allegation 1.1 concerned events that were said to have taken place on either 6 or 7 May 2016. The Tribunal dismissed that allegation. 3.
 
Allegation 1.2 was in the following terms
1.2 On 2 July 2016, the Respondent initiated and/or engaged in sexual activity with Person A in circumstances which constituted a breach of one or more of Principle 2 and Principle 6 of the Principles 2011 because: 1.2.1 the Respondent was in a position of seniority and/or authority over Person A in that he was a partner in the
Firm, Person A’s supervising partner and
Person
A’s appraisal partner 
; 1.2.2 the Respondent knew or ought to have known
from the Person A’s reaction to the incident on 6 or 7
May 2016 [i.e. Allegation 1.1] that his conduct on that occasion had not been invited and was unwelcome; 1.2.3 the Respondent knew or ought to have known that Person A was heavily intoxicated to the extent that she was vulnerable and/or her judgement and decision-making ability was impaired. 1.2.4 the Respondent knew or ought to have known on 1 or 2 July 2016 that Person A had not invited him to her home; 1.2.5 the Respondent knew or ought to have known on 1 or 2 July 2016 that Person A had not allowed him into her home with a view to sexual activity taking place; and/or 1.2.6 in all the circumstances the Respondent knew or ought to have known that his conduct was an abuse of
 
Judgment Approved by the court for handing down
Beckwith v SRA CO/658/2020
his position of seniority or authority and/or inappropriate.
 4.
 
The reference to “Principle 2 and Principle 6 of the Principles 2011” is a reference to
the list of principles set out in the SRA Handbook, as in force at the time of the events
that were complained of (“the Handbook”)
. At that time, the Handbook set out 10  principles, as follows
SRA Principles
These are mandatory Principles which apply to all. You must: 1. uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice; 2. act with integrity; 3. not allow your independence to be compromised; 4. act in the best interests of each client; 5. provide a proper standard of service to your clients; 6. behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services; 7. comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner; 8. run your business or carry out your role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles; 9. run your business or carry out your role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity; and 10. protect client money and assets
.”
 We will refer to these as the 2011 Principles. 5.
 
The Tribunal made detailed findings of fact on the circumstances that had given rise to Allegation 1.2: see paragraphs 25.166 to 25.176 of its judgment, which are set out in the Annex to this judgment. 6.
 
In summary the Tribunal found that what it described as a
“sexual encounter”
had occurred between the Appellant and Person A during the evening of 1
 – 
 2 July 2016. Earlier that evening the Appellant and Person A had been part of a group drinking in a  pub near
the Firm’s
 London office. Person A was an associate solicitor at the Firm in its Restructuring and Insolvency Department, the same department the Appellant

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