How do I get back on the Roll of solicitors?

The Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal (‘SDT’) has the jurisdiction to restore disbarred solicitors to the Roll. Such application for restoration is not an appeal of the SDT’s original decision, although it is very likely that the substance of the original decision will be considered at some length as part of the Application.

In Bolton v Law Society it was stated:

‘Only infrequently, particularly in recent years, has [the SDT] been willing to order the restoration to the Roll of a solicitor against whom a serious dishonesty had been established, even after a passage of years, and even where the solicitor had made every effort to re-establish himself and redeem his reputation.’

The SDT’s guidance on the powers of the tribunal requires an applicant to show exceptional circumstances which justify restoration to the role; as Lord Donaldson observed:

‘There is considerable public interest in the public as a whole being able to deal with members of those professions knowing that, save in the most exceptional circumstances, they can be sure that none of them have ever been guilty of any dishonesty at all.’

‘a finding of dishonesty by the Tribunal […] can constitute an almost insurmountable obstacle to a successful application for restoration’.

The onus is on the applicant to show that they are a fit and proper person to be restored to the Roll and to convince the SDT that their restoration would not damage public confidence in the profession.

When making an application to be restored to the Roll, it is essential for the applicant to demonstrate that they accept their previous conduct was not to the standard required in the profession and show how they have changed and how their character is fit for the Roll. The SDT needs to be certain that re-admitting them will not bring the profession into dispute and will maintain public trust.

Applicants must comply with Rule 17.6 of The Solicitors (Disciplinary Proceedings) Rules 2019, so any application made for restoration to the Roll will need to be published in the Law Society’s Gazette and a newspaper in the local area. As the rules are technical and detailed, applicants might sensibly consider being represented throughout.

If you have been struck off or refused admission or readmission to the Roll and would like to practice, our team would be happy to assist. Please get in contact by calling 0207 632 4300 to speak to one of the members of our team:

James Saunders, Steve Garratt, Tom Airey, Amber Richardson.


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