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Ealing Council serves solicitor with £500k confiscation order

Words: Laura Edgar
Dr Akbar Ali Malik operated his business from his house / Ealing Council

Ealing Council has won £500,000 under a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) order against a Southall solicitor who used his home as an office for his legal practice.

In 2011, Dr Akbar Ali Malik made two planning applications to use the residential property on Herbert Road in Southall as his office. The applications and subsequent appeals were rejected.

Despite this, Malik continued operating his practice from the premises.  

The council issued an enforcement notice to stop the use of the home as an office in October 2013, against which Malik appealed. He then applied for a certificate of lawfulness to use the property as a solicitor’s office. When the council refused this application, he again appealed. Both of these appeals were dismissed.

The new deadline for compliance with the enforcement notice was set as October 2015. Malik ignored the deadline and continued practising from the premises.

In August 2017, Malik was charged with failing to comply with the enforcement notice. He pleaded guilty to the planning enforcement offence at Ealing Magistrates’ Court in November 2017. After seven further hearings, the case was wrapped up in May 2019.

Under the terms of POCA 2002, Malik was given a confiscation order of £500,000. Unless this is paid within three months, Malik will receive an automatic five-year prison sentence. He was also fined a further £10,000 and ordered to pay the council’s costs of £13,747.

Joanna Camadoo-Rothwell, Ealing Council’s lead member for community safety and inclusion, said: “Using a home for business purposes in this way may not sound particularly concerning, but it’s a big problem. In this case, the use of a terraced home as an office detracted from the character of the surrounding area and made living conditions in neighbouring properties miserable, which led to complaints from local people.    

“This has been a very long-running case, with Dr Malik using every route available to him to continue to misuse the building for as long as possible despite the misery it caused his neighbours. Our planning enforcement team worked tirelessly to get this result for residents.”

Image credit | Ealing Council