The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has announced that it will apply to adopt the civil standard of proof when it hears cases brought by the regulator.
The Law Society has responded
’The high success rate for prosecutions at the SDT – 98% in 2015-16 – shows the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has been perfectly able to bring cases meeting the criminal standard of proof “beyond reasonable doubt”’, said president Christina Blacklaws.
’We reflected our members’ views in our response to the tribunal’s consultation, together with the case law that supports the tribunal in establishing facts on the basis that they are beyond reasonable doubt, so it is disappointing that the SDT intends to move to a standard of proof that is merely ‘in the balance of probabilities’.
’There is an inequality of arms between an individual solicitor and the well-resourced regulatory body, and so the SDT’s assurance that it will continue to require the regulator to meet a high standard of proof where any misconduct has been alleged is reassuring.
’Retaining a solicitor majority on SDT panels, as the Law Society recommended, will ensure a range of legal expertise continues to inform the tribunal’s decision-making.’