THE founder of controversial law firm Asons has been suspended from practising as a solicitor for 18 months following a a disciplinary hearing.

Kamran Akram, one of the founders of the Churchgate-based firm, appeared before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in London for five days last month and a further two days this week.

He was there to answer allegations including inflated costs, falsified or fake claims and failing to run his practice or carry out his roles for Asons effectively.

This afternoon, after hearing submissions made by Mr Akram's barrister yesterday, members of the tribunal decided he should be suspended from acting as a solicitor.

Allegations brought against Mr Akram by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) were that, between 20103 and 2015 he misrepresented the grade of fee earners so to increase the level of recoverable costs in personal injury claims, allowed claims for special damages for non-existent incidents and acted in circumstances giving rise to conflict of interests between Asons and its clients.

It was also alleged that between 2014 and 2017 he provided misleading information to a court and/or the SRA and, between 2013 and at least April 2016, caused or permitted payments of prohibited referral fees. And, it was claimed that, between 2015 and 2017, he failed to run Asons effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles.

Mr Akram had his licence suspended and his practice shut down by the SRA in March last year.

In 2016 The Bolton News revealed Asons had received a £300,000 grant from Bolton Council.

After Asons ceased trading and became Coops Law last March, Mr Akram personally repaid the money to the council the day before Asons' offices were raided by the SRA.

Last February, Asons repaid an insurance company almost £70,000 after admitting to falsely inflating its legal costs.

In October, the law firm was also found guilty at Nottingham County Court of gross failures in handling a personal injury claim.

Full written details of the reasons for Mr Akram's suspension will be published by the tribunal within the next few weeks.