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Solicitors

Volume 450: debated on Monday 16 October 2006

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what advice her Department has issued on lay representation for complainants appearing before a solicitors' disciplinary tribunal. (92904)

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) is an independent organisation and as such this Department has not issued any advice on lay representation for those appearing before it. The SDT issues no written guidance on representation before the Tribunal but provides a list of solicitors specialising in this area to all parties involved.

The SDT has confirmed that in over 90 per cent. of cases a person complaining to the SDT makes his or her complaint via the Law Society, which will itself refer the complaint to the SDT. In cases where there is a direct complaint to the tribunal from a member of the public, he or she may represent themselves or obtain professional or lay representation. However, lay representation is hardly ever used.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many solicitors have been found guilty of breaches of the Solicitors Practice Rules 1990 since 2004. (92906)

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

The number of solicitors subject to a penalty by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal since 2004 is:

Number

2006 (to date)

141

2005

211

2004

236