SDT Annual Report 2018
The SDT published its Annual Report 2018 on 25 June 2019.
The Report shows that the SDT sat for 266 days in 2018 (266 in 2017) to hear 168 cases to a conclusion (142 in 2017). The length of substantive hearings remains relatively stable with 49 cases lasting 2 days or more (42 in 2017). One case lasted for just over 4.5 weeks and another for 13 days. 41 court days were lost due to adjournments (98 days in 2017). A total of 83 applications for adjournments were made, of which 41 were granted and 42 were refused. The most common reasons given for such applications were ill health of the Applicant or Respondent and the Respondent not being ready for the hearing. 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 7.6% to £10,333 (£9,606 in 2017), with the main contributory factors being increases in office rent and service charges, increase in business rates and IT improvements.
The Tribunal received a total of 139 new applications from all sources in 2018, a decrease of 21% on 2017's figure of 176. 9 applications were made by members of the public against solicitors (compared to 11 in 2017).
78 solicitors and 2 Registered Foreign Lawyers were struck off the Roll following a substantive hearing and 21 were suspended either indefinitely (1) or for a fixed term (20).
The SDT is transparent about the cost of running the Tribunal. The accounts of its administrative company, Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal Administration Limited, are audited annually by external auditors and filed at Companies House. A breakdown of expenditure in 2018 and 2017, as audited, is included in the Annual Report on page 35.
The annual cost to the profession of the SDT was £19.95 per practising solicitor, based on budget figures for 2018.
Please click here for access to the full Annual Report 2018.