It is in the nature of a profession that it is regulated by independent bodies to maintain high levels of knowledge, standards of work and independence.
Such regulatory bodies often originated from senior practitioners of a trade forming a self-interest association, but have developed into quite separate bodies with lengthy rulebooks and complicated disciplinary procedures. The rules are policed and enforced by independent bodies such as the General Medical Council or the Solicitors Regulation Authority which bring formal cases to separate Court like Tribunals which are supervised by the High Court. The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) is a statutory tribunal which has powers not only over solicitors but Registered Foreign Lawyers, managers and employees of SRA recognised bodies.
It is now a brave or foolhardy professional who just stands up and defends themselves against the weight of a disciplinary attack. In recent years there has been a trend for regulation to go beyond matters of competence and probity into personal conduct, and to infer dishonesty where a professional get in a mess through overwork.
The firm acts for -
- the caring professions, including doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives
- finance professionals regulated by the FCA and accountancy bodies
- sports men and women including professional footballers and jockeys
- lawyers regulated by the SRA or Bar Standards Board
In the legal arena James Saunders is a long-time member of the Solicitors Assistance Scheme which for over 30 years has offered lawyers in difficulties help, guidance, confidential advice and representation. As the head of Saunders Law’s crime and regulatory department, James has wide experience of the SRA and SDT and brings to cases his many years of practice as a criminal defence lawyer at the highest level of trial, appeal and review at the High Court. Any lawyer with a problem can have free initial advice from us.
At any time, we are involved in a range of professional discipline cases, which of their nature must remain confidential. This was however not the case when we represented John Chapman, the solicitor heading the legal department at News International when the News of the World phone-hacking scandal broke, and the SRA sought to hold him responsible for the sins of others. James Saunders and Matthew Purcell of Saunders Law not only secured Mr Chapman’s public vindication of all allegations at the SDT hearings but went on to represent him at the Leveson Inquiry and before the Culture Media & Sport Parliamentary Select Committee. We are known for going the distance!
One of today’s regulatory issues attracting increasing attention is how to judge young professionals driven into making mistakes by overwork, sometimes in combination with mental health problems resulting from overwork. All too often a promising career is ended with them being struck off. This firm associates itself with growing resistance to the SRA judging them ill whilst appearing passive in the regulation of their working conditions. The SRA has yet to fully understand that it regulates the profession, not just the casualties.
At Saunders Law, our professional discipline and regulatory solicitors are highly respected experts in the professional and sporting sectors. We’re well-known for our thorough approach and tirelessly fighting our clients’ corners. Operating from offices in central London, we’re also ideally located to assist clients navigate through the professional regulatory and disciplinary process.
For a free, no obligation, initial discussion of how we may be able to help, please contact us.