Andrew Nulty, 42, the highest-earning solicitor in Britain in 2005-06, has been ordered to appear before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Mr Nulty, whose father and grandfather were miners, heads a list of Britain’s top-earning lawyers that was published yesterday by The Lawyer magazine.
He is the senior partner of Avalon Solicitors, which has made multimillion-pound profits by settling damages claims on behalf of thousands of miners with respiratory disease.
Avalon, based in Warrington, Cheshire, came under investigation after former miners and their families complained to the Law Society about the way their claims were handled.
The investigation resulted in Mr Nulty and his managing partner, Anthony Chorlton, facing 12 alleged offences of professional misconduct.
Avalon registered more than 32,000 chest disease coal claims, of which 13,327 have so far been settled by payment of damages.
For its work on those claims, the firm has been paid £28.3 million in legal fees by the Department of Trade and Industry, which has responsibility for the former British Coal’s liabilities. The Times can disclose that this is more than the total of £27.2 million paid in damages to the 13,327 claimants.
It is alleged by the Law Society that the firm additionally boosted its profitability by slicing money from the compensation awards made to individual clients. Avalon denies this.