Response from the Solicitors Regulation Authority

Well, the SRA have replied very quickly.

Clearly, I have a bit of form filling to do. Five copies for each toe rag; that is 15 copies in all. As to the costs; how can you put a price on justice?

RE: Compensation payments
SDT Enquiries <Enquiries@solicitorsdt.com>
Thu 02/05/2019 17:00
  • ‘David Hender’

Dear Mr Hender

Thank you for your emails of 2 May 2019.

The Tribunal adjudicates upon alleged breaches of the rules and regulations applicable to solicitors and their firms, including The Solicitors’ Code of Conduct 2007, the SRA Code of Conduct 2011, and the SRA Principles 2011 .  The rules and regulations are specifically designed to protect the public, including consumers of legal services, and to maintain the public’s confidence in the reputation of the solicitors’ profession for honesty, probity, trustworthiness, independence and integrity.

It is essential to note that the Tribunal does not have any powers of investigation, nor does it collect evidence to support or oppose an application. The Tribunal cannot award compensation.  Ordinarily the Tribunal will expect a Lay Applicant to have first sent their complaint or to have made a report to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”), which does have powers of investigation and can collect evidence.  If an application by an individual is made direct to the Tribunal, it can refer the application to the SRA. In such a case the SRA will take whatever steps it considers to be appropriate, which might include investigation or submitting its own application to the Tribunal.

Time and expense will be saved for the Lay Applicant if the complaint is reported to the SRA and the SRA is given an opportunity to investigate and reach a decision on the complaint before making a Lay Application to the Tribunal.

If you do wish to proceed with submitting a lay application to the Tribunal, the application must be in the form of Form 1 of the Schedule to the Solicitors Disciplinary Proceedings Rules 2007 https://www.solicitorstribunal.org.uk/constitutions-and-procedures/forms.  It must be supported by a statement setting out the allegations and the facts and matters supporting the application and each allegation contained in it. The statement must contain a Statement of Truth and be signed and dated. The application, the statement and any documents exhibited to them must be sent to the Tribunal with five additional copies and a further copy for every second or further respondent.  The statement of truth should read as follows: ‘I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true’ and be followed by the signature of the person making the application and the date.

If the Lay Application is certified as showing a case to answer by the Tribunal under Rule 6 SDPR, the Tribunal sends the Lay Application, Statement, and supporting documents to the solicitor named in the application, who becomes the Respondent.  If the Lay Application is not certified as showing a case to answer, the only remedy is by means of appeal against that decision to the High Court.

It is important to note the following:

·         The solicitor may decide to appoint his own solicitor or barrister or another representative to act on his behalf.

·         The Lay Applicant is responsible for presenting the case to the Tribunal. This involves providing witness statements and documents, preparing bundles of documents and telling the Tribunal about the case at an oral hearing. The Lay Applicant may have to ask witnesses questions and cross-examine the Respondent solicitor and witnesses called to give evidence on her behalf. The Tribunal reaches a decision on the evidence it reads and hears.

·         Where an application is made to the Tribunal , it can decide to adjourn the matter for a period not exceeding 3 months and refer it to the SRA. In such a case the SRA will take whatever steps it considers to be appropriate, which might include investigation or submitting its own application to The Tribunal. The SRA may refuse to investigate or take over the matter and the Tribunal has no powers to compel the SRA to take any steps. Please see Rule 20 SDPR.

·         Those considering making a Lay Application should take legal advice before doing so. The Tribunal has the power to make orders for the costs of proceedings against Lay Applicants or the solicitor against whom a case is brought, depending largely on the outcome of the case. Costs against either the Lay Applicant or the Solicitor may include the costs incurred by the other party

Yours sincerely

Case Management Team

Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal

 

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