A LAWYER who was struck off for misconduct over mishandling clients’ cash has been allowed back into the profession.

John Swindell who ran his own eponymous firm in Wellington Street, Blackburn, had broken 13 solicitors’ accounting rules before he was disbarred by legal watchdogs.

But the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) was told the solicitor had made “great efforts” to restore his name and reputation

A fitness to practise panel heard he had volunteered at his local Citizen’s Advice Bureau and for an advocacy service, since his 2013 disqualification was imposed.

Later he had worked for a storage facility, banking monies and reconciling accounts, before he had started his own company, assisting some of his former clients with non-legal work.

His most recent employment was as an in-house conveyancer for a property firm, which had given him a positive testimonial.

Wayne Goldstein, for Swindell, said his client’s breaches were not the most serious which the tribunal will have seen, as he had not made any financial gain.

“He was motivated by his desire to keep his clients happy,” the hearing was told.

An objection had been lodged by the son of one of his former clients, who had still not seen anything of his father’s legacy, eight years on, and had lodged a claim with the solicitors compensation fund.

Lorraine Trench, for the Solicitors Regulation Authority, also opposed his reinstatement, insisting that Swindell had only avoided causing any losses to clients through good fortune.

She told the hearing that it was clear that the firm, when he was in charge, had not held sufficient funds to meets its liabilities.

But the SDT panel, chaired by Mr P Booth, said it had given regard to the fact dishonesty had not been alleged against Swindell and that he came across as a “genuine and credible witness”.

Mr Booth added: “The tribunal considered that the applicant had done all he could do restore his reputation.”

He must pay £3,000 costs and was ordered not to practise on his own or hold client money for five years.