Skip to main content

Solicitors

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 10 October 2006

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many non-legal professionals sat as members of the solicitors disciplinary tribunal in 2005. (91405)

12 non-legal professionals sat as members of the solicitors disciplinary tribunal hearings in 2005.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs when she last discussed with officials the length of time taken to call meetings of the solicitors disciplinary tribunal. (91406)

As Minister with delegated responsibility for legal services, I regularly meet with officials of the Law Society. The length of time taken to call meetings of the solicitors disciplinary tribunal was raised at a meeting I had with Law Society officials in March of this year. DCA officials also regularly update me and have regular contact with the Law Society.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many meetings of the solicitors disciplinary tribunal were held in 2005; and how many individual members participated at each meeting. (91407)

For the year 1 May 2005 to 30 April 2006, the solicitor's disciplinary tribunal (SDT) sat on 136 days for the hearing of applications. Each tribunal consists of three members in total, two of whom are solicitor members and one of whom is a lay member.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the average time was between a Law Society adjudication and a hearing of the solicitors disciplinary tribunal in the latest period for which figures are available. (91408)

The Law Society does not maintain statistics on the time between a Law Society adjudication and the solicitors disciplinary tribunal hearing. As far as the SDT is concerned, a case starts with the lodgement of an application. A survey of all cases heard to the year ending April 2006, shows that 26 per cent. were concluded within six months of being placed before the SDT. A further 68 per cent. were concluded between six months and a year.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many solicitors breached solicitors practice rules 1990 in each of the last four years. (91517)

The Law Society does not maintain statistics on the basis of whether the misconduct alleged was a breach of the practice rules or of other regulations. It does keep statistics on solicitors who have been subject to sanctions by the Law Society and the solicitors disciplinary tribunal.

The number of solicitors subject to a penalty by the solicitors disciplinary tribunal in the last four years is as follows:

Number

2006 (To date)

141

2005

211

2004

236

2003

232