Members of St Pauls Chambers have represented a number of firms of solicitors and individual partners and other members of staff faced with investigations by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Members have extensive experience with solicitors disciplinary tribunal cases.

Chambers barristers have represented several firms of solicitors and individual partners, and other staff members faced with investigations by the SRA. In addition, members have extensive experience with solicitor disciplinary tribunal cases.

What is the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal?

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) is constituted as an independent, statutory tribunal under section 46 of The Solicitors Act 1974. Accordingly, it is independent of the SRA.

A solicitor (and their firm) can be referred to the SDT by the SRA or an adjudicator for alleged misconduct and a regulatory breach. It is used to adjudicate misconduct allegations carried out by solicitors, registered foreign lawyers and those employed by solicitors.

Advice has been given to major law firms, medium-size practices, and sole practitioners on a range of issues that include acting with integrity, acting in clients’ best interests, and various compliance issues including conflicts of interest, self-reporting, and financial fraud and financial services.

The SRA has undertaken a great deal of activity following a period of relative calm. The activity to be reviewed under investigation by the SRA is in respect of legal financing funds, escrow services for insurance guarantee loan schemes, and high risk investment fraud.

When can a solicitor be struck off?

The worst conclusion to come from a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal is for a solicitor to be struck off. For a solicitor to be struck off, there must be enough hard evidence gathered under investigation by the SRA to justify a claim. Reasons for striking off a solicitor include, but are not limited to:

  • Proven dishonesty, whether it led to criminal proceedings or otherwise. This can include misuse of client funds, financial impropriety, changing dates, etc.
  • Improper relationships with colleagues. While this may not always result in being struck off, solicitors could land themselves a hefty fine.
  • Sexual misconduct claims.
  • Straying outside of your approved area of practice.

The most common cause for a solicitor to be struck off is dishonesty; this almost inevitably always results in being struck off.

Who can be referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary?

While anybody is free to make a direct application to the SDT, most cases are made by the SRA. The SRA’s job is to gather evidence in support of the claim. The Tribunal is presented with this evidence and will reach a decision based on this information. According to the SRA, the Solicitors Disciplinary can make decisions on solicitors, registered European and foreign lawyers, authorised bodies and their managers and employees, and employees of sole practitioners.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Process

  1. If you are under investigation by the SRA, the final decision to prosecute made by the Tribunal does not always amount to a finding of non-compliance. The Tribunal will review information and evidence to decide the necessary next steps.
    1. The SRA prosecute cases before the Tribunal or instruct an external solicitor to do so.
    2. Relevant parties, including the firm’s contact and the local law society, are notified about the referral.
    3. The SRA collects additional information and evidence.
    4. A statement of allegations is prepared, which is sent to the Solicitors Disciplinary
    5. If the SDT decides there is a case to answer, they will notify you and provide you with the statement and evidence.
    6. The SDT hearing takes place. We recommend attending this hearing with an expert SRA legal barrister who has knowledge of your case. The SDT will make a decision, usually immediately, after which the findings are made public.
    7. You can appeal the decision to the High Court.

What penalties can the SRA impose on solicitors?

There are many different outcomes following a solicitors disciplinary. If SRA legal barristers have gathered enough evidence supporting injustice, the Tribunal can offer a variety of penalties. These penalties are reviewed by the SRA often, and so changes may occur. These penalties are:

  • Fine – The amount of financial penalty imposed on the individual or firm will depend on several variables, including the type of the firm. In most cases, for solicitors working in traditional law firms, the maximum penalty is £2000. For licensed bodies, the penalty is much larger. The Tribunal can impose a financial penalty of up to £50 million for an individual or £250 million for the entity.
  • Rebuke – Both firms and individuals can be given a rebuke penalty. A rebuke is a written statutory disciplinary sanction and is appropriate when the misconduct has caused, or had the potential to cause, significant impact.
  • Reprimand / Serve Reprimand – If the Tribunal is satisfied that the accused has failed to comply with the SRA rules involving breaches, the penalty may be a reprimand or a severe reprimand. A reprimand is a declaration of the lawyer or firm as improper, but does not limit their rights to practice.

“The clerking team is responsive, extremely approachable and knowledgeable”

The Legal 500

Get in touch

For further information and enquiries please contact our clerks team.

Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal Barristers

Simon Myerson KC

Simon Myerson KC

Call: 1986 Silk: 2003

Jeremy Barnett

Jeremy Barnett

Call: 1980

Contact Us

Chambers is centrally located within walking distance of the train station, secure car parks and the Courts.

Contact Us

St Pauls Chambers
Park Row House
19-20 Park Row

For out of hours assistance please call the senior clerk on 07854170429.

The switchboard will open from 08:30 until 17:30

Phone: +44 (0)1132 455 866
Email: [email protected]
CJSM: [email protected]

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