Society's News


President’s Charity of the Year – Bristol Children’s Help Society

                            The Bristol Children’s Help Society is a privately funded volunteer led charity that owns and runs Barton Camp our 100 bed residential children’s centre in the beautiful Mendip hills. Barton Camp operates through the year as a base where disadvantaged local children can enjoy a few … more


BLS features in Bristol Post oldest thriving companies in Bristol

Excerpt from the article: How Bristol’s oldest companies are still thriving after more than 100 years in business They include the city’s last-surviving chocolate maker a wine merchant and a tannery. Why do some companies struggle to survive beyond a year while others flourish for hundreds? Although more than 90 per cent of small companies in Britain will survive one … more


No 12, The Meeting Rooms – Conference, Meeting and Mediation Rooms for Hire

Bristol Law Society’s suite of conference and meeting rooms including a suite of mediation rooms are conveniently located in the centre between the Waterfront Area and the Old City in a modern building situated on the corner of Colston Avenue and St Stephen’s Avenue.  There are a number of large public car parks within a 5 minute walk from the … more


Difficult decisions: the standard of proof in the SDT


 

 

 

 

 

 

Emma Walker is an Associate Solicitor at Leigh Day, working in the firm’s Regulatory & Disciplinary team. For over 3 ½ years, Emma worked as part of the team responding to the SRA’s investigation and prosecution of Leigh Day.

In September 2018, Leigh Day launched its own Regulatory & Disciplinary team, in order to advise and support others with their compliance, regulatory and disciplinary needs. Emma forms part of that team.
Read the team’s insights and updates online, via Twitter, or on LinkedIn.

 

In July 2018 the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (“SDT”) launched a consultation that asked whether it should change its rules to allow for the civil standard to be applied to cases it hears. At present, where the SDT is acting in a fact-finding capacity, cases are tested to the criminal standard of proof.

The debate on which standard is appropriate to regulatory decisions boils down to a balancing act between the risk to the public and the risk to individual solicitors. Is it in the public interest for a solicitor be exiled from the profession if it is more likely than not that they have done something sufficiently wrong to warrant it, but where there is still reasonable doubt? To put it a different way, does the need to protect the public demand that a solicitor is sent out of the profession where the SDT thinks the solicitor has probably done something seriously wrong, but isn’t sure? Arguably, this is putting it in overly broad terms and so it is worth looking at the situation in closer detail, to better understand the implications.

Shifting sands

For more than a decade, the mood has been trending towards the adoption of the civil rather than the criminal standard of proof in regulatory decision-making. By 2010 and in the wake of the Shipman Inquiry, medical regulators that had been applying the criminal standard made the move to the civil standard. From 2010 onwards, the SRA started to use its newly enhanced disciplinary powers and opted to use the civil standard, enshrining its approach in the SRA Disciplinary Procedure Rules 2011. CLICK TO READ MORE