Solicitor and Lay Members are appointed by the Master of the Rolls for a 5 year term which may be renewed on application. Tribunal Members are not appointed or employed by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal or its administration company.
Vacancies are filled following an open and transparent competition. The most recent competition was concluded on 15 October 2015.
The next recruitment competition for Tribunal members is not expected to take place before 2020. No applications for membership are considered outside the formal recruitment process.
The following points should be noted:
- Membership of the Tribunal involves a commitment to devote sufficient time to the Tribunal's business. This will amount to a minimum of 15 sitting days per annum in addition to time spent on preparation, including reading papers, and (after the hearing) settling findings.
- Tribunal Members are expected to attend two training days per annum. In addition, Tribunal Members are primarily responsible for keeping themselves up to date with Tribunal practice and procedure, case law and all legal and regulatory issues relevant to the Tribunal's work. This is a rapidly changing legal environment and the personal time commitment required should not be under-estimated.
- Cases are often contested and may take days, and occasionally weeks, to conclude. Tribunal Members will be asked and expected to sit for more than one day consecutively on a regular basis.
- Members are remunerated for sitting days in accordance with fixed fees laid down by the Board of Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal Administration Ltd. Members do not receive separate payment for preparation and settling Judgments. The current daily sitting rate is £585 for solicitor members and £410 for lay members. Members also receive reimbursement of reasonable travel and subsistence expenses which must be evidenced by production of valid receipts in accordance with the current Tribunal's Expenses Policy.
The Tribunal welcomes applications for membership from all sources. All applications are treated equally. No application will be disadvantaged due to the applicant's disability, ethnic origin, religion and/or race, gender, sexual orientation, geographical location and/or the size of practice or firm. The Tribunal's goal is to secure a wide and diverse range of applicants, willing and able to devote the necessary time to the performance of their duties and fully representative of the equally wide and diverse make up of the solicitors' profession.
Solicitor member applicants should note the following additional requirements:-
- Solicitor members of the Tribunal must be a practising solicitor of not less than ten years' standing; and
- Must not be a member of the Council of the Law Society or have a connection with the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Lay member applicants should note the following additional requirement:-
- Lay Members must not be either solicitors or barristers.
Hearings take place in the Tribunal's Court Rooms at 3rd and 4th Floor, Gate House, 1 Farringdon Street, London EC4M 7LG and usually commence at 10am. Sitting days end at different times of day as dictated by the requirements of the case, but generally finish between 4 and 5 pm.
The Solicitors Act 1974 and Solicitors (Disciplinary Proceedings) Rules 2007 provide that substantive hearings will take place before a Division of the Tribunal consisting of two Solicitor Members (one of whom acts as Chairman) and one Lay Member.