A WATCHDOG has moved in to close down an Oldham legal firm after one principal was struck off and another suspended.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has intervened at No 1 Solicitors, in a bid to safeguard the interests of former or future clients.

An investigation by the SRA led Ehsan Kabir and Lauren Anderson, of Queen Street-based No 1, to face disciplinary proceedings earlier this year.

Mr Kabir and Ms Anderson were originally 50-50 partners in the firm but ran into trouble, amid claims it was in reality two separate practices, being run under one umbrella organisation.

She was the sole director to start off, with Mr Kabir joining her later. Ms Anderson stopped working at the firm in August 2015.

The pairing eventually broke down, a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) hearing was told, with each reporting the other to professional bodies over alleged discrepancies.

Ms Anderson was also reported to the authorities after a district judge voiced concerns that a mediation service she was working for had not been authorised by No 1.

Eight out of nine charges brought against Mr Kabir were eventually dismissed by the SDT - but the regulator found that he had been dishonest in misleading the Solictors Regulation Authority inquiry between August 2015 and May 2017 over a shareholders agreement between the pair and other matters.

Mr Kabir was struck off the solicitors roll and ordered to pay costs in the sum of £35,473.

Meanwhile Ms Anderson was found to have breached practising rules by conducting reserved legal activities without authorisation, acting as a paralegal without a practising certificate and misleading suggesting Anderson & Moores, a consultancy and mediation service, was regulated by No 1.

The SDT hearing ruled that Ms Anderson had been "naive and negligent" but had shown some insight into her failings and had not deliberately sought to mislead the SRA.

She was suspended for 12 months by the watchdog and ordered to pay £42,227 in costs.

Under the latest SRA action over No 1, Wigan-based Stephensons Solictors has been appointed as intervening agents and currently hold the Oldham firm's client files.

Clients can make further enquiries about these arrangements by calling the agents on 0333 344 4776 or e-mailing sraenquiries@stephensons.co.uk