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Solicitors Act 1974

Status:

This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Part IIProfessional Practice, Conduct and Discipline of Solicitors and Clerks

Practice rules

31Rules as to professional practice, conduct and discipline

(1)Without prejudice to any other provision of this Part the Council may, if they think fit, make rules, with the concurrence of the Master of the Rolls, for regulating in respect of any matter the professional practice, conduct and discipline of solicitors.

(2)If any solicitor fails to comply with rules made under this section, any person may make a complaint in respect of that failure to the Tribunal.

Accounts etc.

32Accounts rules and trust accounts rules

(1)The Council shall make rules, with the concurrence of the Master of the Rolls—

(a)as to the opening and keeping by solicitors of accounts at banks for clients' money ; and

(b)as to the keeping by solicitors of accounts containing particulars and information as to money received or held or paid by them for or on account of their clients ; and

(c)empowering the Council to take such action as may be necessary to enable them to ascertain whether or not the rules are being complied with ;

and the rules may specify the location of the banks' branches at which the accounts are to be kept.

(2)The Council shall also make rules, with the concurrence of the Master of the Rolls—

(a)as to the opening and keeping by solicitors of accounts at banks for money comprised in controlled trusts; and

(b)as to the keeping by solicitors of accounts containing particulars and information as to money received or held or paid by them for or on account of any such trust; and

(c)empowering the Council to take such action as may be necessary to enable them to ascertain whether or not the rules are being complied with ;

and the rules may specify the location of the banks' branches at which the accounts are to be kept.

(3)If any solicitor fails to comply with rules made under this section, any person may make a complaint in respect of that failure to the Tribunal.

(4)The Council shall be at liberty to disclose a report on or information about a solicitor's accounts obtained in the exercise of powers conferred by rules made under subsection (1) or (2) to the Director of Public Prosecutions for use in investigating the possible commission of an offence by the solicitor and, if the Director thinks fit, for use in connection with any prosecution of the solicitor consequent on the investigation.

(5)Rules under this section may specify circumstances in which solicitors or any class of solicitors are exempt from the rules by virtue of their office or employment.

33Interest on clients' money

(1)Rules made under section 32 shall make provision for requiring a solicitor, in such cases as may be prescribed by the rules, either—

(a)to keep on deposit in a separate account at a bank for the benefit of the client money received for or on account of a client; or

(b)to make good to the client out of the solicitor's own money a sum equivalent to the interest which would have accrued if the money so received had been so kept on deposit.

(2)The cases in which a solicitor may be required by the rules to act as mentioned in subsection (1) may be denned, among other things, by reference to the amount of any sum received or the period for which it is or is likely to be retained or both; and the rules may include provision for enabling a client (without prejudice to any other remedy) to require that any question arising under the rules in relation to the client's money be referred to and determined by the Society.

(3)Except as provided by the rules, a solicitor shall not be liable by virtue of the relation between solicitor and client to account to any client for interest received by the solicitor on money deposited at a bank being money received or held for or on account of his clients generally.

(4)Nothing in this section or in the rules shall—

(a)affect any arrangement in writing, whenever made, between a solicitor and his client as to the application of the client's money or interest on it; or

(b)apply to money received by a solicitor being money subject to a trust of which the solicitor is a trustee.

34Accountants' reports

(1)Every solicitor shall once in each period of twelve months ending with 31st October, unless the Council are satisfied that it is unnecessary for him to do so, deliver to the Society, whether by post or otherwise, a report signed by an accountant (in this section referred to as an " accountant's report") and containing such information as may be prescribed by rules made by the Council under this section.

(2)An accountant's report shall be delivered to the Society not more than six months (or such other period as may be prescribed by rules made under this section) after the end of the accounting period specified in that report.

(3)Subject to any rules made under this section, the accounting period for the purposes of an accountant's report—

(a)shall begin at the expiry of the last preceding accounting period for which an accountant's report has been delivered;

(b)shall cover not less than twelve months; and

(c)where possible, consistently with the preceding provisions of this section, shall correspond to a period or consecutive periods for which the accounts of the solicitor or his firm are ordinarily made up.

(4)The Council shall make rules to give effect to the provisions of this section, and those rules shall prescribe—

(a)the qualification to be held by an accountant by whom an accountant's report is given ;

(b)the information to be contained in an accountant's report;

(c)the nature and extent of the examination to be made by an accountant of the books and accounts of a solicitor or his firm and of any other relevant documents with a view to the signing of an accountant's report;

(d)the form of an accountant's report; and

(e)the evidence, if any, which shall satisfy the Council that the delivery of an accountant's report is unnecessary and the cases in which such evidence is or is not required.

(5)Rules under this section may include provision—

(a)permitting in such special circumstances as may be defined by the rules a different accounting period from that specified in subsection (3); and

(b)regulating any matters of procedure or matters incidental, ancillary or supplemental to the provisions of this section.

(6)If any solicitor fails to comply with the provisions of this section or of any rules made under it, a complaint in respect of that failure may be made to the Tribunal by or on behalf of the Society.

(7)A certificate under the hand of the Secretary of the Society shall, until the contrary is proved, be evidence that a solicitor has or, as the case may be, has not delivered to the Society an accountant's report or supplied any evidence required under this section or any rules made under it.

(8)Where a solicitor is exempt from rules under section 32—

(a)nothing in this section shall apply to him unless he takes out a practising certificate ;

(b)an accountant's report shall in no case deal with books, accounts or documents kept by him in the course of employment by virtue of which he is exempt from those rules; and

(c)no examination shall be made of any such books, accounts and documents under any rules made under this section.

Intervention in solicitor's practice, Compensation Fund and professional indemnity

35Intervention in solicitor's practice

The powers conferred by Part II of Schedule 1 shall be exercisable in the circumstances specified in Part I of that Schedule.

36Compensation Fund

(1)The fund, known as the " Compensation Fund ", shall be maintained and administered in accordance with the provisions of Schedule 2.

(2)Where the Council are satisfied—

(a)that a person has suffered or is likely to suffer loss in consequence of dishonesty on the part of a solicitor, or of an employee of a solicitor, in connection with that solicitor's practice or purported practice or in connection with any trust of which that solicitor is or formerly was a trustee; or

(b)that a person has suffered or is likely to suffer hardship in consequence of failure on the part of a solicitor to account for money which has come to his hands in connection with his practice or purported practice or in connection with any trust of which he is or formerly was a trustee ; or

(c)that a solicitor has suffered or is likely to suffer loss or hardship by reason of his liability to any of his or his firm's clients in consequence of some act or default of any of his partners or employees in circumstances where but for the liability of that solicitor a grant might have been made out of the Compensation Fund to some other person ;

the Society may make a grant out of the Compensation Fund for the purpose of relieving that loss or hardship.

(3)A grant under subsection (2)(c) may be made by way of a loan upon such terms and conditions (including terms and conditions as to the time and manner of repayment, the payment of interest and the giving of security for repayment) as the Council may determine, and the Society may at any time or times, upon such terms and conditions (if any) as the Council think fit, waive or refrain from enforcing the repayment of the whole or any part of the loan, the payment of any interest on the loan or any of its terms or conditions.

(4)Where—

(a)a grant is made otherwise than by way of loan, or

(b)a grant is made by way of loan and a condition specified in subsection (5) is satisfied in relation to it,

the Society shall be subrogated, to the extent specified in subsection (6), to any rights and remedies of the person to whom the grant is made in relation to the act or default in respect of which it is made, and shall be entitled, upon giving him a sufficient indemnity against costs, to require him, whether before or after payment of the grant, to sue in his own name but on behalf of the Society for the purpose of giving effect to the Society's rights, and to permit the Society to have the conduct of the proceedings.

(5)The conditions mentioned in subsection (4) are—

(a)that repayment of the whole or part of the loan has been waived;

(b)that the borrower has failed to repay the whole or part of the loan in accordance with the terms and conditions of the loan.

(6)The extent to which the Society is subrogated under subsection (4) is—

(a)for a grant made by way of loan, the amount in relation to which a condition specified in subsection (5) is satisfied, and

(b)for any other grant, the amount of the grant.

(7)Where the Society refuses a grant, the Council shall state the reasons for the refusal.

(8)The Council may make rules about the Compensation Fund and the procedure for making grants from it.

37Professional indemnity

(1)The Council, with the concurrence of the Master of the Rolls, may make rules (in this Act referred to as " indemnity rules ") concerning indemnity against loss arising from claims in respect of any description of civil liability incurred—

(a)by a solicitor or former solicitor in connection with his practice or with any trust of which he is or formerly was a trustee;

(b)by an employee or former employee of a solicitor or former solicitor in connection with that solicitor's practice or with any trust of which that solicitor or the employee is or formerly was a trustee.

(2)For the purpose of providing such indemnity, indemnity rules—

(a)may authorise or require the Society to establish and maintain a fund or funds ;

(b)may authorise or require the Society to take out and maintain insurance with authorised insurers ;

(c)may require solicitors or any specified class of solicitors to take out and maintain insurance with authorised insurers.

(3)Without prejudice to the generality of subsections (1) and (2), indemnity rules—

(a)may specify the terms and conditions on which indemnity is to be available, and any circumstances in which the right to it is to be excluded or modified ;

(b)may provide for the management, administration and protection of any fund maintained by virtue of subsection (2)(a) and require solicitors or any class of solicitors to make payments to any such fund ;

(c)may require solicitors or any class of solicitors to make payments by way of premium on any insurance policy maintained by the Society by virtue of subsection (2)(b);

(d)may prescribe the conditions which an insurance policy must satisfy for the purposes of subsection (2)(c);

(e)may authorise the Society to determine the amount of any payments required by the rules, subject to such limits, or in accordance with such provisions, as may be prescribed by the rules ;

(f)may specify circumstances in which, where a solicitor for whom indemnity is provided has failed to comply with the rules, the Society or insurers may take proceedings against him in respect of sums paid by way of indemnity in connection with a matter in relation to which he has failed to comply;

(g)may specify circumstances in which solicitors are exempt from the rules;

(h)may empower the Council to take such steps as they consider necessary or expedient to ascertain whether or not the rules are being complied with ; and

(i)may contain incidental, procedural or supplementary provisions.

(4)If any solicitor fails to comply with indemnity rules, any person may make a complaint in respect of that failure to the Tribunal.

(5)The Society shall have power, without prejudice to any of its other powers, to carry into effect any arrangements which it considers necessary or expedient for the purpose of indemnity under this section.

Restrictions on practice as solicitor

38Solicitor who is justice of the peace not to act in certain proceedings

(1)Subject to the provisions of this section, it shall not be lawful for any solicitor who is one of the justices of the peace for any area, or for any partner of his, to act in connection with proceedings before any of those justices as solicitor or agent for the solicitor of any person concerned in those proceedings.

(2)Where the area for which a solicitor is a justice of the peace is divided into petty sessional divisions, his being a justice for the area shall not subject him or any partner of his to any disqualification under this section in relation to proceedings before justices acting for a petty sessional division for which he does not ordinarily act.

(3)Where a solicitor is a justice of the peace for any area, that shall not subject him or any partner of his to any disqualification under this section if his name is entered in the supplemental list kept under section 1 of the Administration of Justice Act 1973.

(4)Where a solicitor is, as being Lord Mayor or alderman, a justice of the peace for the City of London, that shall not subject him or any partner of his to any disqualification under this section, if he is in accordance with section 1(6) of the Administration of Justice Act 1973 excluded from the exercise of his functions as a justice for the City.

39Solicitor not to act as agent for unqualified person

(1)No solicitor shall wilfully and knowingly—

(a)act as agent for an unqualified person in any action or in any matter in bankruptcy ;

(b)permit his name to be made use of in any action or in any matter in bankruptcy upon the account or for the profit of an unqualified person ;

(c)send any process to an unqualified person ; or

(d)do any other act enabling an unqualified person to appear, act or practise in any respect as a solicitor in any action or in any matter in bankruptcy.

(2)Where it appears to the Tribunal or, as the case may be, to the High Court that a solicitor has acted in contravention of this section, the Tribunal or the court shall order that his name be struck off the roll.

(3)Where the High Court orders the name of a solicitor to be struck off the roll in respect of an offence under this section, the court may further order that the unqualified person who was enabled by the conduct of the offender to appear, act or practise as a solicitor shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding one year.

(4)For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that in subsection (1) references to an unqualified person include references to a body corporate.

40Solicitor not to commence or defend actions while in prison

(1)No solicitor while a prisoner in any prison shall as a solicitor, in his own name or in the name of any other solicitor, issue any writ or process, or commence, prosecute or defend any action or any matter in bankruptcy.

(2)If any solicitor commences, prosecutes or defends any action or any matter in bankruptcy in contravention of subsection (1)—

(a)he shall be incapable of maintaining an action for the recovery of any costs in respect of any business so done by him; and

(b)he and any other solicitor in whose name he is permitted to commence, prosecute or defend the action or matter shall be guilty of contempt of the court in which it is commenced, prosecuted or defended and may be punished accordingly.

Restrictions on employment of certain persons

41Employment by solicitor of person struck off or suspended

(1)No solicitor shall, except in accordance with a written permission granted under this section, employ or remunerate in connection with his practice as a solicitor any person who to his knowledge is disqualified from practising as a solicitor by reason of the fact that—

(a)his name has been struck off the roll, or

(b)he is suspended from practising as a solicitor, or

(c)his practising certificate is suspended while he is an undischarged bankrupt.

(2)The Society may grant a permission under this section for such period and subject to such conditions as the Society thinks fit.

(3)A solicitor aggrieved by the refusal of the Society to grant a permission under subsection (2), or by any conditions attached by the Society to the grant of any such permission, may appeal to the Master of the Rolls who may—

(a)confirm the refusal or the conditions, as the case may be; or

(b)grant a permission under this section for such period and subject to such conditions as he thinks fit.

(4)If any solicitor acts in contravention of this section or of any conditions subject to which a permission has been granted under it, the Tribunal or, as the case may be, the High Court shall order—

(a)that his name be struck off the roll; or

(b)that he be suspended from practice for such period as the Tribunal or the court thinks fit.

(5)The Master of the Rolls may make regulations about appeals to him under subsection (3).

42Failure to disclose fact of having been struck off or suspended

(1)Any person who, while he is disqualified from practising as a solicitor by reason of the fact that—

(a)his name has been struck off the roll, or

(b)he is suspended from practising as a solicitor, or

(c)his practising certificate is suspended while he is an undischarged bankrupt,

seeks or accepts employment by a solicitor in connection with that solicitor's practice without previously informing him that he is so disqualified shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £50.

(2)Notwithstanding anything in the Magistrates' Courts Act 1952, proceedings under this section may be commenced at any time before the expiration of six months from the first discovery of the offence by the prosecutor, but no such proceedings shall be commenced except by, or with the consent of, the Attorney General.

43Control of employment of certain clerks

(1)Where a person who is or was a clerk to a solicitor but is not himself a solicitor—

(a)has been convicted of a criminal offence which discloses such dishonesty that in the opinion of the Society it would be undesirable for him to be employed by a solicitor in connection with his practice; or

(b)has, in the opinion of the Society, occasioned or been a party to, with or without the connivance of the solicitor to whom he is or was clerk, an act or default in relation to that solicitor's practice in respect of which an application or complaint against that solicitor has been or might be made to the Tribunal,

an application may be made to the Tribunal with respect to that person by or on behalf of the Society.

(2)The Tribunal, on the hearing of any application under subsection (1), may make an order that as from such date as may be specified in the order no solicitor shall, except in accordance with permission in writing granted by the Society for such period and subject to such conditions as the Society may think fit to specify in the permission, employ or remunerate, in connection with his practice as a solicitor, the person with respect to whom the application is made.

(3)An order made by the Tribunal under subsection (2) may, on the application of the Society or of the person with respect to whom the application for the order was made, be revoked by a subsequent order of the Tribunal; and where in the opinion of the Tribunal no prima facie case is shown in favour of an application for revocation, the Tribunal may refuse the application without hearing the applicant.

(4)The Tribunal, on the hearing of any application under this section, may make an order as to the payment of costs by any party to the application.

(5)Orders made under this section and filed with the Society may be inspected by any solicitor during office hours without payment but shall not be open to the inspection of any person other than a solicitor.

(6)The death of a solicitor against whom an application or complaint might have been made to the Tribunal shall not prevent an application being made under this section.

(7)For the purposes of this section an order under Part I of the Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973 placing a person on probation or discharging him absolutely or conditionally shall, notwithstanding anything in section 13 of that Act, be deemed to be a conviction of the offence for which the order was made.

44Offences in connection with orders under section 43(2)

(1)Any person who, while there is in force in respect of him an order under section 43(2), seeks or accepts any employment by or remuneration from a solicitor in connection with that solicitor's practice without previously informing him of that order shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £50.

(2)Where an order is made under section 43(2) in respect of any person and that order is one—

(a)against which no appeal has been made or which has been confirmed on appeal; and

(b)which has not been revoked under section 43(3),

then, if any solicitor knowingly acts in contravention of that order or of any conditions subject to which permission for the employment of that person has been granted under it, a complaint in respect of that contravention may be made to the Tribunal by or on behalf of the Society.

(3)Any document purporting to be an order under section 43(2) and to be duly signed in accordance with section 48(1) shall be received in evidence in any proceedings under this section and be deemed to be such an order without further proof unless the contrary is shown.

(4)Notwithstanding anything in the Magistrates' Courts Act 1952, proceedings under subsection (1) may be commenced at any time before the expiration of six months from the first discovery of the offence by the prosecutor, but no such proceedings shall be commenced, except with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions, by any person other than the Society or a person acting on behalf of the Society.

Lay observers

45Investigation by lay observers of Society's treatment of complaints

(1)The Lord Chancellor may, if he thinks fit, appoint one or more persons (in this section referred to as " lay observers ") to examine any written allegation made by or on behalf of a member of the public concerning the Society's treatment of a complaint about a solicitor or an employee of a solicitor made to the Society by that member of the public or on his behalf.

(2)No solicitor or barrister shall be appointed a lay observer.

(3)A lay observer shall hold and vacate his office in accordance with the terms of his appointment, and shall, on ceasing to hold office, be eligible for re-appointment.

(4)The Lord Chancellor may give general directions to lay observers about the scope and discharge of their functions, and shall publish any such directions.

(5)The Society shall consider any report or recommendation which it receives from a lay observer and shall notify him of any action which it has taken in consequence.

(6)The Lord Chancellor may appoint staff for lay observers.

(7)Remuneration for lay observers and their staff and any other expenses of lay observers shall be paid out of money provided by Parliament.

(8)In determining the numbers, terms of employment and remuneration of lay observers and their staff and any amount payable by way of expenses under subsection (7), the Lord Chancellor shall act only with the approval of the Minister for the Civil Service.

(9)The Society shall furnish a lay observer with such information as he may from time to time reasonably require.

(10)The Lord Chancellor shall direct the submission to him of annual reports by lay observers on the discharge of the functions conferred on them by this section.

(11)The Lord Chancellor shall lay a copy of any report under subsection (10) before each House of Parliament.

Disciplinary proceedings before Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal

46Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal

(1)Applications and complaints made by virtue of any provision of this Act shall be made, except so far as other provision is made by this Act or by any regulations under it, to the tribunal known as the " Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal".

(2)The Master of the Rolls shall appoint the members of the Tribunal.

(3)The Tribunal shall consist—

(a)of practising solicitors of not less than ten years' standing (in this section referred to as " solicitor members "); and

(b)of persons who are neither solicitors nor barristers (in this section referred to as " lay members ").

(4)A member of the Tribunal shall hold and vacate his office in accordance with the terms of his appointment and shall, on ceasing to hold office, be eligible for re-appointment.

(5)There shall be paid to the lay members out of money provided by Parliament such fees and allowances as the Lord Chancellor may, with the approval of the Minister for the Civil Service, determine.

(6)Subject to subsections (7) and (8), the Tribunal shall be deemed to be properly constituted if—

(a)at least three members are present; and

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

(c)the number of solicitor members present exceeds the number of lay members present.

(7)For the purpose of hearing and determining applications and complaints the Tribunal shall consist of not more than three members.

(8)A decision of the Tribunal on an application or complaint may be announced by a single member.

(9)Subject to subsections (6) to (8), the Tribunal, with the concurrence of the Master of the Rolls, may make rules—

(a)empowering the Tribunal to elect a solicitor member to be its president; and

(b)about the procedure and practice to be followed in relation to the making, hearing and determination of applications and complaints.

(10)Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (9)(b), rules made by virtue of that paragraph may in particular—

(a)empower the president of the Tribunal to appoint a chairman for the hearing and determination of any application or complaint;

(b)provide that, if the president does not appoint a chairman, a solicitor member shall act as chairman; and

(c)provide, in relation to any application or complaint relating to a solicitor, that, where in the opinion of the Tribunal no prima facie case in favour of the applicant or complainant is shown in the application or complaint, the Tribunal may make an order refusing the application or dismissing the complaint without requiring the solicitor to whom it relates to answer the allegations and without hearing the applicant or complainant.

(11)For the purposes of any application or complaint made to the Tribunal under this Act, the Tribunal may administer oaths, and the applicant or complainant and any person with respect to whom the application or complaint is made (or, in the case of an application under section 47(1)(b), any of the parties to the application) may issue writs of subpoena ad testificandum and duces tecum, but no person shall be compelled under any such writ to produce any document which he could not be compelled to produce on the trial of an action.

(12)The power to make rules conferred by subsection (9) shall be exercisable by statutory instrument, and the Statutory Instruments Act 1946 shall apply to a statutory instrument containing such rules in like manner as if the rules had been made by a Minister of the Crown.

47Jurisdiction and powers of Tribunal

(1)Any application—

(a)to strike the name of a solicitor off the roll, or to require a solicitor to answer allegations contained in an affidavit, or

(b)by a former solicitor whose name has been struck off the roll or to have his name restored to the roll,

shall be made to the Tribunal; but nothing in this subsection shall affect any jurisdiction over solicitors exercisable by the Master of the Rolls, or by any judge of the High Court, by virtue of section 50.

(2)Subject to subsection (3) and to section 54, oh the hearing of any application or complaint made to the Tribunal under this Act, other than an application under section 43, the Tribunal shall have power to make such order as it may think fit, and any such order may in particular include provision for any of the following matters, that is to say—

(a)the striking off the roll of the name of the solicitor to whom the application or complaint relates ;

(b)the suspension of that solicitor from practice;

(c)the payment by that solicitor of a penalty not exceeding £750, which shall be forfeit to Her Majesty;

(d)the restoration to the roll of the name of a former solicitor whose name has been struck off the roll and to whom the application relates ;

(e)the payment by any party of costs or a contribution towards costs of such amount as the Tribunal may consider reasonable.

(3)On proof of the commission of an offence with respect to which express provision is made by any section of this Act, the Tribunal shall, without prejudice to its power of making an order as to costs, impose the punishment, or one of the punishments, specified in that section.

48Orders of Tribunal

(1)An order of the Tribunal shall be filed with the Society, and a statement of the Tribunal's findings, signed by the chairman or by some other member of the Tribunal authorised by him in that behalf, shall either be prefaced to the order or added to the file containing the order as soon as may be after the order has been made.

(2)Where an order which has been filed includes provision for any of the matters referred to in paragraphs (a) to (e) of section 47(2), the Society—

(a)shall cause a note of the effect of the order to be entered on the roll against the name of the solicitor with respect to whom the application or complaint was made; and

(b)except where it only makes provision for matters referred to in paragraph (d) or (e) of that subsection, shall forthwith upon filing the order cause a notice stating its effect to be published in the London Gazette.

(3)Subject to section 43(5), any file kept by the Society under this section may be inspected during office hours without payment.

(4)An order which has been filed shall be treated, for the purpose of enforcement, as if it had been made by the High Court.

49Appeals from Tribunal

(1)An appeal from the Tribunal shall lie—

(a)in the case of an order on an application under section 43(3) or 47(1)(b) or the refusal of any such application, to the Master of the Rolls ;

(b)in any other case, to the High Court.

(2)Subject to subsection (3), an appeal shall lie at the instance of the applicant or complainant or of the person with respect to whom the application or complaint was made.

(3)An appeal against an order under section 43(2) shall lie only at the instance of the person with respect to whom the application was made.

(4)The High Court and the Master of the Rolls shall have power to make such order on an appeal under this section as they may think fit.

(5)Subject to any rules of court, on an appeal against an order made by virtue of rules under section 46(10)(c) without hearing the applicant or complainant, the court—

(a)shall not be obliged to hear the appellant, and

(b)may remit the matter to the Tribunal instead of dismissing the appeal.

(6)Any decision of the Master of the Rolls on an appeal under this section and any decision of the High Court on an appeal against an order under section 43(2) shall be final.

(7)The Master of the Rolls may make regulations about appeals to him under this section.

Disciplinary proceedings before Supreme Court

50Jurisdiction of Supreme Court over solicitors

(1)Any person duly admitted as a solicitor shall be an officer of the Supreme Court; but section 120 of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Consolidation) Act 1925 (which imposes on officers of the Supreme Court restrictions as to practice as solicitors) shall not apply to any solicitor by virtue only of this subsection.

(2)Subject to the provisions of this Act, the High Court, the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal respectively, or any division or judge of those courts, may exercise the same jurisdiction in respect of solicitors as any one of the superior courts of law or equity from which the Supreme Court was constituted might have exercised immediately before the passing of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1873 in respect of any solicitor, attorney or proctor admitted to practise there.

51Procedure upon certain applications to High Court

(1)Where an application to strike the name of a solicitor off the roll or to require a solicitor to answer allegations contained in an affidavit is made to the High Court, then, subject to section 54, the following provisions of this section shall have effect in relation to that application.

(2)The court shall not entertain the application except on production of an affidavit proving that the applicant has served on the Society fourteen clear days' notice of his intention to make the application, together with copies of all affidavits intended to be used in support of the application.

(3)The Society may appear by counsel on the hearing of the application and any other proceedings arising out of or in reference to the application, and may apply to the court—

(a)to make absolute any order nisi which the court may have made on the application ;

(b)to make an order that the name of the solicitor be struck off the roll; or

(c)to make such other order as the court may think fit.

(4)The court may order the costs of the Society of or relating to any of the matters mentioned in subsections (2) and (3) to be paid by the solicitor against whom, or by the person by whom, the application was made, or was intended to be made, or partly by one and partly by the other of them.

52Power of Society to draw up order of court

Where an order, whether nisi or absolute, is made by the High Court or the Court of Appeal on a motion to strike the name of a solicitor off the roll, or to require a solicitor to answer allegations contained in an affidavit, and that order is not drawn up by the applicant within one week of its being made, the Society may cause the order to be drawn up, and all future proceedings on the order shall be taken as if the motion had been made by the Society.

53Production of order of court to Society

Where an order is made by the High Court or the Court of Appeal that the name of a solicitor be struck off the roll, or that a solicitor be suspended from practice, the proper officer of the court shall forthwith send a copy of the order to the Society, and the Society shall enter a note of the order on the roll against the name of the solicitor and, where the order so directs, shall strike that name off the roll.

Disciplinary proceedings—general

54Restrictions on powers to strike names off roll

(1)No solicitor shall be liable to have his name struck off the roll on account of any failure to comply with the requirements with respect to service under articles of any training regulations or on account of any defect in his admission and enrolment, unless—

(a)the application to strike his name off the roll is made within twelve months of the date of his enrolment; or

(b)fraud is proved to have been committed in connection with the failure or defect.

(2)No solicitor shall be liable to have his name struck off the roll by reason only—

(a)that a solicitor whom he has served for the whole or any part of the term of articled service required in his case by training regulations has neglected or omitted to take out a practising certificate ; or

(b)that the name of a solicitor whom he has served for any period has after the termination of that period been removed from or struck off the roll.

55Applications to require solicitor to answer allegations

For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that an application by any person to require a solicitor to answer allegations contained in an affidavit, whether that application is made to the Tribunal or to the High Court, may be treated as an application to strike the name of that solicitor off the roll on the grounds of the matters alleged.

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