Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal Anonymised Case Data – January to July 2017
The SDT has published its anonymised case data on the progress of cases issued in January – July 2017, to give a flavour of its current workload. These cases are progressing to hearing in addition to a number of cases issued towards the end of 2016 and a small number of older cases where there are particular issues e.g. proceedings outstanding before other courts.
The data includes the date of the internal decision by the SRA to refer a case to the SDT (where that date is provided by the SRA) and the date of receipt of papers at the Tribunal for the purpose of certification to start the process. Included are applications brought by former/suspended solicitors for restoration to the Roll, termination of indefinite suspension, costs enforcement applications by the SRA, appeals remitted by the High Court to the SDT for reconsideration, and appeals to the SDT from SRA internal decisions under Section 44E of the Solicitors Act 1974 (as amended).
Publication of this information enables the public and profession to see much more clearly the length of time taken for cases to reach the SDT after the SRA has made its referral decision. The data also includes information regarding the status of the legal representative acting on behalf of the SRA in respect of the proceedings (SRA in-house advocate or external panel advocate). The progress of each case through SDT case management hearings to substantive hearing is outlined with reasons for delays. The most common reasons identified as causes of delay continue to be: (1) ill-health of solicitor respondents to proceedings (2) criminal proceedings issued after the SRA has sent disciplinary proceedings to the Tribunal to be issued (3) identification by the SRA of further allegations against respondents requiring a Supplementary Statement (Rule 7 Statement) to be issued, on occasion when the original proceedings are already well-advanced.
The SDT works in such a way as to be able to offer expeditious hearing dates within its performance targets in every case. Delays in the hearing of cases are almost always caused for reasons entirely outside the control of the Tribunal and its administrative team. It is anticipated that the publication of this data will add transparency to the overall picture for the benefit of the public and the profession.
For further information, please contact Susan Humble, the Clerk and CEO of the Tribunal.