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The Solicitors (Amendment)(Northern Ireland) Order 1989

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This is the original version (as it was originally made).

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal

18.  For Articles 43 to 47 of the Solicitors Order (Disciplinary Committee) there shall be substituted—

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal

43.(1) The Lord Chief Justice, after consultation with the Council, shall appoint a tribunal, to be known as the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and consisting of—

(a)practising solicitors of not less than 10 years' standing (solicitor members); and

(b)persons who are neither solicitors nor members of the Bar of Northern Ireland (lay members).

(2) The members of the Tribunal shall elect one of the solicitor members to be the president of the Tribunal.

(3) The Department of Finance and Personnel shall pay to lay members such remuneration and other allowances (if any) as that Department may determine.

(4) The Lord Chief Justice, after consultation with the Council, may remove a member of, and may fill a vacancy in, the Tribunal.

(5) The Tribunal may, subject to paragraph (6), act notwithstanding one or more than one vacancy in their membership and any application or complaint made to, or other matter dealt with by or before, the Tribunal may be dealt with or disposed of notwithstanding any change in the membership of the Tribunal.

(6) For the purpose of hearing and determining applications and complaints the Tribunal shall be properly constituted if—

(a)at least 3 members are present; and

(b)at least 1 lay member is present; and

(c)the number of solicitor members present exceeds the number of lay members present; and

(d)the president or another solicitor member presides.

(7) Subject to the provisions of this Order and of any rules made under paragraph (8), the Tribunal may regulate their procedure in such manner as they may think fit.

(8) The Tribunal may, with the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice, make rules regulating applications and complaints to the Tribunal and the hearing, conduct and determination of such applications and complaints and of inquiries held by the Tribunal.

(9) Without prejudice to the powers of the Tribunal under Article 51(1)(j) and (k), rules under paragraph (8) may make provision for the payment by any party to an application or complaint made to the Tribunal of the costs, or a contribution towards the costs, incurred by any other party or by the Tribunal in connection with that application or complaint.

(10) The Tribunal may appoint a secretary, who shall be a member of the Society but shall not be a member of the Tribunal.

(11) Except as provided by paragraph (3), the Society shall defray the costs incurred by the Tribunal, which shall include the amount of any remuneration which the Society may agree to pay to the person appointed as secretary.

Applications and complaints to Tribunal

44.(1) The following applications and complaints shall be made to and heard by the Tribunal—

(a)an application by a solicitor who has been suspended from practice for an order terminating the suspension;

(b)an application by a person whose name has been struck off the roll for an order for the replacement of his name on the roll;

(c)an application by a solicitor who is restricted from practising on his own account, whether in partnership or otherwise, under an order made under Article 51(1)(c) or (4) for an order removing that restriction;

(d)an application by a solicitor who is excluded from legal aid work by an order made under Article 51B for an order terminating his exclusion;

(e)a complaint by the Society or any other person—

(i)that a solicitor has been guilty of professional misconduct or of other conduct tending to bring the solicitors' profession into disrepute; or

(ii)that a solicitor has contravened a provision of thisOrder or of any regulation or order made thereunder(including an order made by or on appeal from the Tribunal), or any term or condition subject to which any certificate has been issued, or any consent has been given, to him or his suspension has been terminated, by the Lord Chief Justice, the Council, the Society, the Tribunal or the High Court under any provision of this Order; or

(iii)that a solicitor has been convicted in Northern Ireland of a criminal offence tending to bring the solicitors' profession into disrepute, or has been convicted outside Northern Ireland of an offence of like character which if committed in Northern Ireland would be a criminal offence;

(f)a complaint requiring a solicitor to answer allegations contained in an affidavit;

(g)a complaint by the Society relating to the conduct of a solicitor in connection with—

(i)the giving of advice or assistance under Part II of the Legal Aid, Advice and Assistance (Northern Ireland) Order 1981(1); or

(ii)the provision of services for any person receiving legal aid under Part II or III of that Order (including the provision of any such services in the capacity of agent for that person’s solicitor); or

(h)any other application or complaint which is authorised to be made to the Tribunal under any other provision of this Order or under any other enactment.

(2) An application or complaint under paragraph (1) shall be in writing, shall be signed by the person making it and shall be sent to the Tribunal together with—

(a)an affidavit by that person setting forth the facts giving rise to the application or complaint; and

(b)the documents relied on in support of the application or complaint, or duly authenticated copies of those documents;

and the Tribunal shall take into consideration every such application or complaint together with such affidavit and documents as aforesaid.

(3) Where a judge of the Supreme Court, a county court judge or a resident magistrate reports to the Society any case where it appears to him that a solicitor is prima facie guilty of professional misconduct, the Society shall make a complaint to the Tribunal under paragraph (1) with respect to the solicitor.

Procedure on application by solicitor or former solicitor

45.  Where an application is made under Article 44(1)(a), (b), (c) or (d), the Tribunal—

(a)shall inform the Society of the application; and

(b)shall hold an inquiry.

Procedure on application or complaint against solicitor

46.(1) Where an application or a complaint is made under Article 44(1)(e), (f) or (h) by a person other than the Society or a lay observer, the Tribunal—

(a)if they decide that a prima facie case has not been shown, shall so notify the applicant or complainant and the solicitor and take no further action; or

(b)if they decide that a prima facie case has been shown shall serve on the solicitor—

(i)a copy of the application or complaint;

(ii)a copy of the affidavit;

(iii)copies or, at the discretion of the Tribunal, a list of the relevant documents; and

(iv)a notice requiring the solicitor to send to the Tribunal, within a specified period, an affidavit by him in answer to the application or complaint, together with anydocuments, or duly authenticated copies thereof, on which he may rely in support of his answer.

(2) Where an application or a complaint is made under Article 44(1)(e), (f), (g) or (h) by the Society or a lay observer, the Tribunal shall serve on the solicitor the documents mentioned in paragraph (1)(b)(i) to (iv).

(3) Where the notice mentioned in paragraph (1)(b)(iv) is served, any party to the application or complaint may inspect the documents furnished by any other party.

(4) After the expiration of the period specified in such notice, the Tribunal shall consider such (if any) affidavit and documents as have been furnished by the solicitor and—

(a)if they decide that there is no cause for further inquiry shall so notify the applicant or complainant and the solicitor and shall take no further action; or

(b)if they decide that there is cause for inquiry, shall hold an inquiry.

(5) Where an applicant or complainant or a solicitor against whom an application or complaint is made has been notified under paragraph (1)(a) or paragraph (4)(a), the Tribunal shall, if so required in writing by the complainant or the solicitor, make a formal order embodying their decision..

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