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Tuesday, 23 July, 2002, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
Kilshaw struck off as solicitor
Alan and Judith Kilshaw
Alan and Judith Kilshaw paid 8,200 for the twins
Alan Kilshaw, the husband at the centre of the internet twins adoption row, has been struck off as a solicitor.

Mr Kilshaw, 47, was banned for improperly using 17,000 of his clients' money to prop up his overdraft.

He denied the charges, but a tribunal found he had "blatantly and deliberately" breached strict financial rules and also ordered him to pay 3,700 costs.

Mr Kilshaw and his wife Judith made headlines around the world 18 months ago, when they tried to adopt baby girls over the internet for 8,200.

Although Kimberley and Belinda lived with the couple at their north Wales home for a short time, the girls were taken from them by social services and returned to the US last April.

'Unjustifiable'

The central London hearing found that Mr Kilshaw's actions had fallen "woefully short" of the standards expected of lawyers.

Twins Kimberley and Belinda
Kimberley and Belinda were returned to the US

Gerald Lynch, for the Law Society, said Mr Kilshaw had claimed legal aid money on behalf of his clients.

But instead of using it to pay for work done for them by experts, Mr Kilshaw kept it in his business bank account to bolster his balance.

It was precisely at the 35,000 overdraft limit when investigators examined the account.

"The benefit of funds to Mr Kilshaw was enjoyed for between six and 14 months," Mr Lynch said.

"That is a lengthy and unjustifiable period of time. Wholly wrong, inappropriate and improper."

Depression

Mr Kilshaw, of Westminster Park, Chester, was not present at the tribunal and he was not represented.

He claimed to be suffering from depression, but chairman John Potter ruled the case should go ahead in his absence.

Mr Potter also turned-down Mr Kilshaw's application for the tribunal to take place in private.

Mr Kilshaw denied breaching solicitors' accounts rules prior to May 2000, impropriety and conduct unbefitting to a solicitor.

But he admitted a fourth charge, of breaching accounting rules after May 2000, Mr Lynch said.

The Kilshaws are reported to have run up a 60,000 legal bill in their failed custody battle.

Mr Kilshaw was left bankrupt and the couple and their two sons were forced to leave their 230,000, seven-bedroom home, from which he also ran his practice.


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17 Jan 01 | UK
22 Oct 01 | Wales
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