- About the hearings
- Applications & appeals
- Facilities & accessibility
What are the opening times of the Tribunal?
The Tribunal's offces are open from 9 am to 5 pm. Hearings usually start at 10.00am, but please check forthcoming hearings for specific details.
Can I find out whether a solicitor has ever appeared as a respondent before the SDT?
Yes. If the name of the solicitor you are interested in does not appear in the Judgment search, please contact us and a member of staff will provide an answer.
Can the Tribunal award compensation?
The Tribunal does not have power to award compensation. The Legal Ombudsman does have power to do so. Please click here for a link to the Ombudsman's website.
Can I have a copy of a Judgment (the document containing the Tribunal's detailed reasons, findings and orders)?
Yes, in most cases. Judgments from 2002 onwards are available to download from our website. Older Judgments are not currently available to download, but can be obtained via post or email from the Tribunal’s office. Please contact us and a member of staff will be happy to assist you. In certain cases, particularly if the Tribunal has ordered that the hearing should take place in private, the Judgment may not be available to anyone other than the parties to the case without specific permission of the Tribunal.
How soon after a final hearing will the Judgment be made available?
The SDT aims to produce Judgments within seven weeks of the last day of the hearing in 80% of cases. Judgments may take longer to produce in lengthy and/or complex cases.
How do I obtain a written transcript of a hearing?
The Tribunal does not produce written transcripts of its hearings. It does make audio copies of hearings (in CD format) available on request. A CD is not available when the hearing took place in private or when the Tribunal has ordered that the recording should not be released. Parties to a case are always entitled to a CD.
Applications for recordings should be sent in writing by post to the following address:
Office Services Assistant
Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal
1 Farringdon Street
The fee for the provision of the recording is £10.00. Please send a cheque made payable to Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal with your letter. The recording will not be provided until payment has been received. Please note: recordings are formatted in such a way that they are not accessible via standard audio equipment. Most firms of transcribers will be able to produce a transcript from the CD. If you wish to listen to the recording, you must first download free software called – “The Record Player” from www.fortherecord.com.
Can I attend the Tribunal to watch a hearing?
Yes. Most hearings are open to the public. However, any party to a case and any person who claims to be affected by it can apply to the Tribunal for the hearing, or part of it, to be held in private on the grounds of exceptional hardship or exceptional prejudice to a party, a witness or any person affected by the application. The Tribunal will only grant the application in those exceptional circumstances if it is satisfied that the grounds have been met. The Tribunal's order on such an application will always reflect what it considers to be just and proper. For further details please refer to the Solicitors Disciplinary Rules
How do I appeal against a substantive decision of the Tribunal?
Appeals from substantive decisions of the Tribunal lie to the Administrative Court. The Tribunal is not a party to appeals from its substantive decisions.
Appeals from substantive decisions of the Tribunal are made to the Administrative Court. As from 1 October 2013, the time limit for lodging an appeal is 21 days from when the statement of reasons for a decision is given - see the 66th Update to the Civil Procedure Rules and Civil Procedure Rules, Rule 52.4(2)(b) and Practice Direction 52D. The statement of reasons is contained in the Tribunal's written Judgment (or in some cases Memorandum), which usually becomes available 2 - 7 weeks after the hearing.
For further information on how to appeal please contact the Administrative Court Office using the contact details below:
Administrative Court Office
The Royal Courts of Justice
DX 44450 RCJ / STRAND
- Royal Courts of Justice Switchboard: 020 7947 6000
- Issue and General Enquiries: 020 7947 6655
- Issue and General Enquiries Fax: 020 7947 6802
Where is the nearest station to the Tribunal's courts and offices?
The City Thameslink for over ground, and Blackfriars (District and Circle lines) or St Pauls (Central line) for underground.
Where exactly is the SDT based?
The SDT's courts and offices are on the corner of Ludgate Circus, between the Evans Cycle shop and Santander Bank.
Is there disabled access?
The SDT building is fully adapted for disabled access, with lifts able to accommodate most wheelchairs to all floors. Hearing loops are provided in all court rooms. Members of staff are on hand to provide additional assistance. If you have any specific requirements, please let us know in advance and we will do all that we can to assist.
Are there photocopying facilities available?
Yes, there is a black and white photocopier available free of charge on the 3rd floor.
Are refreshments provided?
Tea, coffee and water are provided free of charge to all visitors.
What does the Clerking team do?
A member of the Clerking team will be assigned to each Court on sitting days. The Clerk will usually introduce her/himself to the parties before the start of the hearing to check that all parties are ready to start and that the necessary documents are all available. The Clerk will check with the parties whether there are any preliminary issues or other matters with which the Tribunal needs to deal. The Clerk will introduce the case, ensure that the proceedings are recorded properly and will take a note of the hearing. The Clerk will take witnesses to the witness box and ensure the correct oath/affirmation is taken.
The role of the Clerk is to support, advise and guide Members on points of law and procedure. This involves both attending the hearing and the Members’ discussions in chambers. The Clerk plays no part in the Members’ decision-making process on findings of fact, law, sanction or costs. At the end of the hearing, the Clerk will arrange for any necessary Order to be drawn up and will then prepare and draft Judgments, summarising the facts, evidence, submissions, areas of dispute, legal issues, findings of fact and law, and detailing the Tribunal’s decisions and reasons; the draft Judgment will then be checked and amended by the Members as appropriate.
The Clerk may also take part in active case management of cases, in relation to routine procedural matters such as agreed directions, with appropriate support.
How do I pay my fine?
The responsibility for collecting and enforcing payment of fines imposed by the Tribunal rests with H.M. Treasury. Fines are payable to the Queen and not to the Tribunal or the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Payment of fines and queries about payment must be directed to The Accountant, H.M. Treasury, EFA Team, Room 1/29, Ground Floor, 1 Horse Guards Road, London SW1A 2 HQ. Please do not send payments to the Tribunal; they will be returned to you.
Please remember that it is your responsibility to keep the Tribunal and HM Treasury informed of the outcome of an appeal in relation to your fine. The Tribunal will not do so on your behalf as it is not a party to the appeal.
How do I make a Lay Application?
For information about making a Lay Application, please click here.
To download Form 1, please click here.
Please be aware that:
- The Tribunal does not have any powers of investigation, nor does it collect evidence to support or oppose a Lay Application. Anyone who makes a Lay Application is responsible for investigating and collecting evidence, for putting together Form 1, a Statement under Rule 5 Solicitors (Disciplinary Proceeding) Rules 2007 (“SDPR”) and exhibiting the supporting evidence to the Statement. If the Lay Application is certified as showing a case to answer by the Tribunal under Rule 6 SDPR, the Tribunal sends the Lay Application, Statement, and supporting documents to the solicitor named in the application, who becomes the Respondent. If the Lay Application is not certified as showing a case to answer, the only remedy is by means of appeal against that decision to the High Court.
- The solicitor may decide to appoint his own solicitor or barrister or another representative to act on his behalf.
- The Lay Applicant is responsible for presenting the case to the Tribunal. This involves providing witness statements and documents, preparing bundles of documents and telling the Tribunal about the case at an oral hearing. The Lay Applicant may have to ask witnesses questions and cross-examine the Respondent solicitor and witnesses called to give evidence on her behalf. The Tribunal reaches a decision on the evidence it reads and hears.
- Please note that the application must be in the form of Form 1 of the Schedule to the SDPR. It must be supported by a statement setting out the allegations and the facts and matters supporting the application and each allegation contained in it. The statement must contain a Statement of Truth and be signed and dated. The application, the statement and any documents exhibited to them must be sent to the Tribunal with five additional copies and a further copy for every second or further respondent.
- The statement of truth should read as follows:I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true' and be followed by the signature of the person making the application and the date.
- Where an application is made to the Tribunal , it can decide to adjourn the matter for a period not exceeding 3 months and refer it to the SRA. In such a case the SRA will take whatever steps it considers to be appropriate, which might include investigation or submitting its own application to The Tribunal. The SRA may refuse to investigate or take over the matter and the Tribunal has no powers to compel the SRA to take any steps. Please see Rule 20 SDPR.
- Those considering making a Lay Application should take legal advice before doing so. The Tribunal has the power to make orders for the costs of proceedings against Lay Applicants or the solicitor against whom a case is brought, depending largely on the outcome of the case. Costs against either the Lay Applicant or the Solicitor may include the costs incurred by the other party.
How do I apply to have practising restrictions imposed by the Tribunal lifted or varied?
You must send an application to the Clerk to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, copied to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, confirming that you wish to apply to lift or vary the conditions. You should include the case number of the Tribunal case in which the conditions were imposed and, if available, a copy of the Judgment. Most Judgments are published on the Tribunal’s website. You should explain in as much detail as possible why you wish to apply to remove or vary the conditions, and attach copies of any documentary evidence which in your opinion support your application. This could, include, for example, a signed statement from your employer, references, and/or evidence of courses attended. Your own statement should include a Statement of Truth as follows:
"I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true' and be followed by your signature and the date."
The statements of any other witnesses should also include a Statement of Truth and be signed and dated.
You must send the Tribunal four complete copies of your application, and you must at the same time send one copy to the SRA, who will be given an opportunity to express their views about your application. The SRA will require 28 days in which to respond and the hearing will take place on the first available date after that period of time has expired. You must attend the hearing to make your application and you are responsible for calling any witness evidence on which you wish to rely.
Where conditions have been imposed by the SRA on a Practising Certificate, other than in accordance with an Order of the Tribunal, you will need to contact the SRA for information on the procedure to be followed.