SDT Annual Report 2017
The SDT published its Annual Report 2017 on 17 May 2018.
The Report shows that the SDT sat for 266 days in 2017 (260 in 2016) to hear 142 cases to a conclusion (143 in 2016). The length of substantive hearings remains relatively stable at 42 cases lasting 2 days or more (51 in 2016). One case lasted for 7 weeks and another for 14 days. 98 court days were lost due to late adjournments (57 days in 2016). A total of 99 applications for adjournments were made, of which 61 were successful. The most common consistent reasons given for such applications were: ill health of the Respondent solicitor facing prosecution - 23 applications; Respondent not ready for hearing - 20 applications; unavailability of advocates, parties, and/or witnesses - 15 applications, and criminal/civil/other disciplinary proceedings pending - 12 applications. The average cost per court over the year, to include fees paid to Members for sittings, staff salaries, premises costs, and all office overheads, has increased by just over 3% to £9,606 (£9,293 in 2016).
The Tribunal received a total of 176 new applications from all sources in 2017, an increase of 33.33% on 2016's figure of 132. 11 such applications were made by members of the public against solicitors (8 in 2016).
58 solicitors were struck off the Roll following a substantive hearing (76 in 2016), and 24 were suspended either indefinitely (4) or for a fixed term (20) (1 and 19 respectively in 2016).
The SDT is transparent about the cost of running the Tribunal. The accounts of its administrative company SDTAL are audited annually by external auditors and filed at Companies House. A detailed breakdown of budgeted figures is included in the Annual Report, together with actual expenditure in the previous 12 months (as audited). The SDT's audited accounts for 2017 will be available in June 2018. On current estimates it is expected that the annual cost to the profession of the SDT will be £2,599,000 or just £18 per practising solicitor.
Please click here for access to the complete Annual Report 2017.