Solicitor Disciplinary Tribunals (SDT/SRA)

Allegations of professional misconduct or wrongdoing can seriously impact or even end a solicitor’s career, so when facing such allegations, it is critical to secure expert advice and representation.

The way a solicitor responds to a disciplinary investigation can significantly affect the final outcome. A sensible approach grounded in a thorough understanding of how these matters work can make the difference between being found guilty of wrongdoing or not, as well as giving the best chance of avoiding serious sanctions where wrongdoing has occurred.

Our team of professional discipline lawyers, based in London, represent solicitors from a wide range of firms and businesses, including very high-profile clients facing the most serious allegations. We can assist with every stage of solicitors’ disciplinary proceedings, including:

  • Responding to Rule 5 statements
  • Negotiating Regulatory Settlement Agreements
  • Negotiating Agreed Outcomes
  • Representation for Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearings

All solicitors’ disciplinary cases are dealt with at partner level in recognition of the complexity and sensitivity of these matters. We will work intelligently and proactively to limit the professional consequences of an investigation and any potential sanctions, while always taking account of reputational considerations.

We will engage with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) at an early stage to bring an investigation to an early conclusion in our clients’ favour where possible.

However, our dedicated litigation experts have an excellent track record of success representing clients in Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearings, with powerful advocacy skills ready to be deployed on our clients’ behalf.

Operating from offices in central London, we are ideally located to assist solicitors facing disciplinary proceedings in London and nationwide.

Speak to our professional discipline solicitors in London

For expert assistance with solicitors’ disciplinary proceedings, contact Saunders Law today for a free, no obligation initial discussion of how we may be able to help.

Call us on 02076324300 or make an enquiry online.

Why Saunders Law is the smart choice for Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal advice & representation

Exceptional specialist expertise in solicitors’ disciplinary proceedings

Partners James Saunders and Matthew Purcell are regarded as experts in this field and are members of the Solicitors Assistance Scheme. For instance, they secured 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

Our team has been independently recognised for our legal expertise with strong rankings in highly respected client guides the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.

Exceptional personal service & client satisfaction

We pride ourselves on the high level of personal service. Our 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 team can assist with solicitors’ disciplinary proceeds matters

Responding to a Rule 5 statement

Following an initial investigation, involving rounds of representations, when the Soliciors Regulation Authority believe misconduct has occured 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 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 providing 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.

Arrange an initial, no obligation consultation with our solicitors’ disciplinary proceedings lawyers in London

When dealing with solicitors’ disciplinary proceedings, our team has the experience, skills and proactive approach required to secure the best available outcome.

For a free, no-obligation, initial discussion of how we may be able to help, please contact us.

Call us on 020 7632 4300 or make an enquiry online.