The Solicitors (Disciplinary Proceedings) Rules 2019

The Solicitors (Disciplinary Proceedings) Rules 2019 ("SDPR 2019") came into force on 25 November 2019. The updating of the Tribunal’s rules has allowed it to reflect changes in procedure since the previous rules were made and to consolidate the majority of the matters previously addressed in practice directions into the SDPR 2019. For those not familiar with the Tribunal’s practice and procedures this should make it easier to understand the requirements.

The introduction of the SDPR means that for all first instance cases certified as showing a case to answer on or after 25 November 2019 the standard of proof is the balance of probabilities. For cases certified prior to that date the standard of proof will remain beyond reasonable doubt.

For post 25 November 2019 first instance cases the relevant guidance is Practice Direction 1: Agreed Outcomes and Guidance on Rule 23 (Adjournments). The new application forms can be found here. For cases certified before that date Practice Directions 1 to 6 and the Policy and Practice Note on Adjournments apply and the relevant forms can be found here.

The Guidance Note on Sanctions, the Guidance Note on Appeals and the Guidance Note on Other Powers of the Tribunal have all been updated. In addition there is new Guidance for a Person Assisting a Party.

The Tribunal’s Members and staff have been busy preparing for the change in the rules and on 20 November 2019 the Tribunal’s training day focussed on both its new rules and the SRA’s new Standards and Regulations. Whilst it is clearly a time of significant change for the profession the Tribunal is well-prepared for the changes.

Ed Nally, President said:

"I welcome the arrival of these new rules. The changes reflect a complete review and overhaul of the previous version. In many areas the rules will be familiar to those who appear regularly before the Tribunal, but in others there are changes which I believe will be welcome and a practical improvement for all users of the Tribunal. The new civil standard of proof is the obvious headline change, but it is just one of many examples that we have introduced to keep the Tribunal ahead in its work and practice generally."

Should you require any further information or clarification about the implementation of the SDPR 2019 please contact us at Enquiries@solicitorsdt.com or on 0207 329 4808.