From investigations, first instance proceedings, appeals, restoration to the roll or to have practising restrictions removed or varied, our professional discipline solicitors can assist with any legal professional disciplinary matter.
We are experts in the field of solicitors’ disciplinary defence, particularly well-known and respected for our work helping solicitors defend against allegations of professional misconduct.
Our expertise includes:
- Solicitor misconduct allegations
- Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) investigations
- SRA prosecutions
- Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) representation
- SDT suspensions
- SRA fines
- SDT appeals
- Appealing against SRA sanctions
- Advising clients struct off the solicitors list for England and Wales
Notable successes achieved by our SRA defence solicitors include:
- Securing the exoneration before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal of the former Director of Legal Affairs at News International, in relation to the phone-hacking scandal
- Achieving an exceptionally rare Agreed Outcome with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, approved by the SDT, in respect of allegations of dishonesty
- The successful end to SRA investigations involving non-qualified fee-earners holding themselves out at solicitors
- Assisting a firm of solicitors with an orderly wind-down of a practice to avert intervention
- Advising and assisting an application for restoration to the Roll of Solicitors, on the grounds of exceptional circumstances
At Saunders Law, our professional discipline and regulatory solicitors are highly respected experts in the legal sector. We have decades of experience across our team, having earned recognition from leading industry guides the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.
Operating from offices in central London, we’re also ideally located to assist clients navigate through the professional regulatory and disciplinary process.
Consult our solicitors disciplinary defence lawyers in London
For a free, no-obligation, initial discussion of how we may be able to help with solicitors disciplinary defence, please get in touch.
Why Saunders Law are acknowledged leaders in solicitors’ disciplinary defence
Extensive specialist experience in solicitors’ disciplinary proceedings
Partner James Saunders (a member of the Solicitors Assistance Scheme) and Matthew Purcell are regarded as experts in this field. Their successes in solicitors disciplinary defence include securing the exoneration of the former Director of Legal Affairs at News International before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in respect of alleged wrongdoing in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.
Independently recognised expertise
Exceptional personal service & client satisfaction
We take pride in the high level of personal service we provide for solicitors disciplinary defence. Clients will always receive a call back the same day following an enquiry and can always speak to one of our partners when required. As a result, we consistently achieve excellent feedback from clients.
Transparent and flexible pricing
We provide clear and open advice regarding the costs involved in facing disciplinary proceedings for solicitors. Various funding options are available to suit different circumstances and we have excellent relationships with litigation funding providers.
How our SRA defence solicitors can help you
Responding to a Rule 5 statement
Following an initial investigation involving rounds of representations, when the Solicitors Regulation Authority believe misconduct has occurred, they will make an application to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal to consider the matter. The SRA will include with their application a statement under Rule 5 of the Disciplinary Proceedings Rules detailing the allegations and the relevant regulations which may have been breached.
If the SDT certify that there is a case to answer, the solicitor will then need to respond to the statement, either accepting or denying the alleged breach and establishing and evidencing a defence.
It is essential to respond to a Rule 5 statement promptly and fully, with all of the correct information and any appropriate supporting evidence. Any mistakes made at this stage can seriously undermine a solicitor’s case, so expert legal advice and defence for solicitors’ disciplinary defence is strongly recommended.
Negotiating Regulatory Settlement Agreements
In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate a Regulatory Settlement Agreement (RSA) with the SRA as a way to end disciplinary proceedings early. Such a settlement will typically rely on the solicitor or firm under investigation agreeing to sanctions or controls proposed by the SRA.
Our team can represent solicitors during negotiations with the SRA, which are held on a ‘without prejudice’ basis, so any concessions made cannot be used in any subsequent tribunal proceedings if the negotiations are unsuccessful.
Entering an RSA can allow disciplinary matters to be resolved faster and with less potential for negative publicity, as well as potentially allowing the solicitor under investigation to agree less onerous penalties than might be imposed by a Tribunal.
Please note: a Regulatory Settlement Agreement can only be negotiated before a Rule 5 statement has been submitted to the SDT, and they have decided there is a case to answer.
Negotiating an Agreed Outcome with the Solicitors Regulation Authority
If a Rule 5 statement has been submitted to the SDT and they have decided there is a case to answer, then it may be possible to negotiate an Agreed Outcome to avoid a Tribunal hearing.
This will rely on the solicitor or firm under investigation admitting misconduct occurred and agreeing appropriate sanctions with the SRA. However, any agreement made with the SRA will be subject to approval by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal panel.
Our team can advise on whether an Agreed Outcome is likely to be possible and represent clients during negotiations with the SRA.
Representation for Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunals
Where a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing is required, the solicitor or firm under investigation will need to provide written submissions and may also be called upon to give live evidence in front of the Tribunal panel.
Our team can help with the preparation of cases for SDT hearings, as well as provide expert representation for solicitors who have to appear at a hearing. We will ensure your case is prepared effectively with all of the necessary supporting evidence to give you the best chance of a positive outcome.
Where a client is unhappy with the outcome of a hearing, we will provide realistic guidance on the advisability of pursuing an appeal. Should an appeal seem likely to achieve a better result, we can assist with preparing the appeal and provide representation.
What happens if a solicitors breaches Code of Conduct?
A breach of any part of the Code of Conduct will be treated as strict liability. This means that solicitors facing an SRA investigation could face sanctions, including being struck off. This is where the advice and guidance of a specialist disciplinary defence law firm will prove invaluable.
Who holds solicitors accountable?
The SRA is responsible for holding the solicitor accountable. They are also responsible for carrying out investigations into solicitors’ misconduct.
Arrange an initial, no obligation consultation with our solicitors’ disciplinary defence lawyers in London
At Saunders Law, we’re dedicated to protecting our clients’ interests and defending solicitors against negligence claims. We’re well-known for our excellent advocacy skills and tirelessly fighting our clients’ corners. Operating from offices facing the High Court in central London, we’re also ideally located to provide robust defence for solicitors.
For a free, no-obligation, initial discussion of how we may be able to help, please contact us.