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The Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline TribunalS

50 The Tribunal.S

(1)For the purposes of this Part of this Act [F1and sections 16 to 23 (which relate to the provision of conveyancing and executry services) of the 1990 Act] there shall be a tribunal, which shall be known as the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal and is in this Act referred to as “the Tribunal”.

(2)Part I of Schedule 4 shall have effect in relation to the constitution of the Tribunal.

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Amendments (Textual)

51 Complaints to Tribunal.S

(1)A complaint may be made to the Tribunal by the Council; and, for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting complaints, the Council may appoint a solicitor to act as fiscal.

[F2(1A)In subsection (1) above, without prejudice to the generality of that subsection, the reference to a complaint includes a complaint in respect of conveyancing and executry practitioners and the provision by them of conveyancing and executry services (those expressions having the meanings given in section 23 of the 1990 Act).]

(2)The persons mentioned in subsection (3) may report to the Tribunal any case where it appears that F3. . . [F4 an incorporated practice may have failed to comply with any provision of this Act or of rules made under this Act applicable to it]. . . , and any such report shall be treated by the Tribunal as a complain under subsection (1).

[F5(2A)F6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .]

(3)The persons referred to in subsection (2) are—

(a)the Lord Advocate;

[F7(aa)the Advocate General for Scotland]

(b)any judge;

[F8(ba)the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates;]

(c)the Auditor of the Court of Session;

(d)the Auditor of any sheriff court.

[F9(e)the Scottish Legal Aid Board.]

[F10(f)the Scottish legal services ombudsman.]

[F11(4)Where a report is made to the Tribunal under subsection (2) the Tribunal may, if it thinks fit, appoint a solicitor to prosecute the complaint and the expenses of the solicitor, so far as not recoverable from the solicitor complained against, shall be paid out of the funds of the Tribunal.]

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Amendments (Textual)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C1S. 51 applied in part (with modifications) (1.10.2004) by The Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 (Foreign Lawyers and Multi-national Practices) Regulations (S.S.I. 2004/383), {reg. 13}

52 Procedure on complaints [F12and appeals] to Tribunal. S

(1)Part II of Schedule 4, shall have effect in relation to the procedure and powers of the Tribunal in relation to any complaint [F13or appeal] concerning a solicitor [F14or an incorporated practice].

(2)Subject to the other provisions of this Part [F15, the provisions of sections 16 to 23 of the 1990 Act], and of any rules of court made under this Act, the Tribunal, with the concurrence of the Lord President, may make rules—

(a)for regulating the making, hearing and determining of complaints made to it under this Act; and

[F16(aa)for regulating the making, hearing and determining of appeals made to it under section F17. . . [F1842ZA(9), (10), (11) or (12), 42ZD(1)] or 53D(1);]

[F19(ab)for regulating the making, hearing and determining of—

(i)inquiries under subsection (2A) of section 20 of the 1990 Act; and

(ii)appeals under subsection [F20(8A)(b), (11)(b) or (11ZC)] of that section.

[F21(iii)appeals under section 20ZB(9), (10), (11) or (12) or 20ZE(1) of that Act;]]

(b)generally as to the procedure of the Tribunal (including provision for hearings taking place in public or wholly or partly in private).

[F22(3)Rules made by the Tribunal under subsection (2) for regulating the making, hearing or determining of appeals referred to in paragraph (aa) or (ab)(ii) of that subsection may include provision as to persons being entitled, or required by the Tribunal, to appear or be represented at the appeal.]

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Amendments (Textual)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C3S. 52(1) applied (with modifications) (1.10.2004) by The Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 (Foreign Lawyers and Multi-national Practices) Regulations (S.S.I. 2004/383), {reg. 13}

C4S. 52(2) modified (1.10.2004) by The Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 (Foreign Lawyers and Multi-national Practices) Regulations (S.S.I. 2004/383), {reg. 14}

53 Powers of Tribunal.S

(1)Subject to the other provisions of this Part, the powers exercisable by the Tribunal under subsection (2) shall be exercisable if—

(a)after holding an inquiry into a complaint against a solicitor the Tribunal is satisfied that he has been guilty of professional misconduct, or

(b)a solicitor has (whether before or after enrolment as a solicitor), been convicted by any court of an act involving dishonesty or has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 2 years [F23, or

(c)an incorporated practice has been convicted by any court of an offence, which conviction the Tribunal is satisfied renders it unsuitable to continue to be recognised under section 34(1A); or

(d)after holding an inquiry into a complaint, the Tribunal is satisfied that an incorporated practice has failed to comply with any provision of this Act or of rules made under this Act applicable to it.]

(2)Subject to subsection (1), the Tribunal may—

(a)order that the name of the solicitor be struck off the roll; or

(b)order that the solicitor be suspended from practice as a solicitor for such time as it may determine; or

[F24(ba)order that any right of audience held by the solicitor by virtue of section 25A be suspended or revoked;]

[F25(bb)where the solicitor has been guilty of professional misconduct, and where the Tribunal consider that the complainer has been directly affected by the misconduct, direct the solicitor to pay compensation of such amount, not exceeding £5,000, as the Tribunal may specify to the complainer for loss, inconvenience or distress resulting from the misconduct;]

(c)subject to subsection (3), impose on the solicitor [F26or, as the case may be, the incorporated practice] a fine not exceeding [F27£10,000]; or

(d)censure the solicitor [F26or, as the case may be, the incorporated practice]; or

(e)impose such fine and censure him [F26or, as the case may be, it][F28or

(f)order that the recognition under section 34(1A) of the incorporated practice be revoked][F29; or

(g)order that an investment business certificate issued to a solicitor, a firm of solicitors or an incorporated practice be—

(i)suspended for such time as they may determine; or

(ii)subject to such terms and conditions as it may direct; or

(iii)revoked.]

(3)F30. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[F31(3ZA)The Tribunal shall not impose a fine under subsection (2)(c)—

(a)where the Tribunal is proceeding on the ground referred to in subsection (1)(a) and the solicitor, in relation to the subject matter of the Tribunal's inquiry, has been convicted by any court of an act involving dishonesty and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 2 years;

(b)where the Tribunal is proceeding on the ground referred to in subsection (1)(b).]

[F32(3A)The powers conferred by subsection (2)(c), (d) and (e) may be exercised by the Tribunal—

(a)in relation to a former solicitor, notwithstanding that his name has been struck off the roll or that he has, since the date of the misconduct, conviction or sentence referred to in subsection (1)(a) or (b), ceased to practise as a solicitor or been suspended from practice;

(b)in relation to a body corporate which was formerly an incorporated practice, notwithstanding that the body has, since the date of the conviction or failure referred to in subsection (1)(c) or (d), ceased to be recognised as an incorporated practice by virtue of section 34(1A).]

[F33(3B)The power conferred by subsection (2)(ba) may be exercised by the Tribunal either independently of, or in conjunction with, any other power conferred by that subsection.]

(4)Any fine imposed by the Tribunal under subsection (2) shall be forfeit to Her Majesty.

(5)Where the Tribunal have exercised the power conferred by subsection (2) to censure, or impose a fine on, a solicitor, or both to censure and impose a fine, the Tribunal may order that the solicitor’s practising certificate shall be subject to such terms and conditions as the Tribunal may direct; and the Council shall give effect to any such order of the Tribunal.

(6)Where the Tribunal order that the name of a solicitor be struck off the roll, or that the solicitor be suspended from practice as a solicitor [F34or that any right of audience held by the solicitor by virtue of section 25A be suspended or revoked], the Tribunal may direct that the order shall take effect on the date on which it is intimated to the solicitor; and if any such direction is given the order shall take effect accordingly.

[F35(6A)Where the Tribunal order that the recognition under section 34(1A) of an incorporated practice be revoked, the Tribunal shall direct that the order shall take effect on such date as the Tribunal specifies, being a date not earlier than 60 days after its order is intimated to the incorporated practice, and such an order shall take effect accordingly.]

[F36(6B)Where the Tribunal make an order under subsection (2)(g), they may direct that the order shall take effect on the date on which it is intimated to the solicitor, firm or incorporated practice; and if any such direction is given the order shall take effect accordingly.

(6C)The Council shall give effect to any order of the Tribunal under subsection (2)(g).]

(7)Where in relation to any such order as is mentioned in subsection (6) [F37,(6A) or (6B)] the Tribunal give a direction under [F38subsection (6) or, as the case may be, subsection (6A)][F39or (6B)], and an appeal against the order is taken to the Court under section 54, the order shall continue to have effect pending the determination or abandonment of the appeal unless, on an application under subsection (2) of section 54, the Court, otherwise directs.

[F40(7A)In subsection (2)(g), section 53D(1) and paragraph 16(h) of Schedule 4, “investment business certificate” means a certificate issued by the Council under Rule 2.2 of the Solicitors (Scotland) (Conduct of Investment Business) Practice Rules 1988.]

[F41(7B)A direction of the Tribunal under this section is enforceable in like manner as an extract registered decree arbitral in its favour bearing a warrant for execution issued by the sheriff court of any sheriffdom in Scotland.]

[F42(7C)The Scottish Ministers may by order made by statutory instrument, after consulting the Council and such groups of persons representing consumer interests as they consider appropriate, amend paragraph (bb) of subsection (2) by substituting for the amount for the time being specified in that paragraph such other amount as they consider appropriate.

(7D)A statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (7C) is not to be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, the Scottish Parliament.]

[F43(8)The Secretary of State may, by order made by statutory instrument subject to annullment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament, amend [F44

(a)]paragraph (c) of subsection (2) by substituting for the amount for the time being specified in that paragraph such other amount as appears to him to be justified by a change in the value of money.

[F45(b)the definition of “investment business certificate” in subsection (7A) by substituting for the reference to Rule 2.2 of the Solicitors (Scotland) (Conduct of Investment Business) Practice Rules 1988, or such reference replacing that reference as may for the time being be specified in that subsection, a reference to such Practice Rule as may from time to time replace Rule 2.2.]]

[F46(9)In subsection (2)(bb), “complainer” has the same meaning as in section 42ZA.]

[F47(10)F30. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(11)F30. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .]

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Amendments (Textual)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C5S. 53 applied in part (with modifications) (1.10.2004) by The Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 (Foreign Lawyers and Multi-national Practices) Regulations (S.S.I. 2004/383), {reg. 13}

[F4853ZARemission of complaint by Tribunal to CouncilS

(1)Where, after holding an inquiry under section 53(1) into a complaint of professional misconduct against a solicitor, the Tribunal—

(a)is not satisfied that he has been guilty of professional misconduct;

(b)considers that he may be guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct,

it must remit the complaint to the Council.

(2)Where the Tribunal remits a complaint to the Council under subsection (1), it may make available to the Council any of its findings in fact in its inquiry into the complaint under section 53(1).

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Amendments (Textual)

53ZBPowers of Tribunal on appeal: unsatisfactory professional conductS

(1)On an appeal to the Tribunal under section 42ZA(9) the Tribunal—

(a)may quash or confirm the determination being appealed against;

(b)if it quashes the determination, shall quash the censure accompanying the determination;

(c)may quash, confirm or vary the direction being appealed against;

(d)may, where it considers that the solicitor does not have sufficient competence in relation to any aspect of the law or legal practice, direct the solicitor to undertake such education or training as regards the law or legal practice as the Tribunal considers appropriate in that respect;

(e)may, subject to subsection (5), fine the solicitor an amount not exceeding £2000;

(f)may, where it considers that the complainer has been directly affected by the conduct, direct the solicitor to pay compensation of such amount, not exceeding £5,000, as it may specify to the complainer for loss, inconvenience or distress resulting from the conduct.

(2)On an appeal to the Tribunal under section 42ZA(10) the Tribunal—

(a)may quash the determination being appealed against and make a determination upholding the complaint;

(b)if it does so, may, where it considers that the complainer has been directly affected by the conduct, direct the solicitor to pay compensation of such amount, not exceeding £5,000, as it may specify to the complainer for loss, inconvenience or distress resulting from the conduct;

(c)may confirm the determination.

(3)On an appeal to the Tribunal under section 42ZA(11) the Tribunal may, where it considers that the complainer has been directly affected by the conduct, direct the solicitor to pay compensation of such amount, not exceeding £5,000, as it may specify to the complainer for loss, inconvenience or distress resulting from the conduct.

(4)On an appeal under section 42ZA(12) the Tribunal may quash, confirm or vary the direction being appealed against.

(5)The Tribunal shall not direct the solicitor to pay a fine under subsection (1)(e) where, in relation to the subject matter of the complaint, the solicitor has been convicted by any court of an act involving dishonesty and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 2 years.

(6)Any fine directed to be paid under subsection (1)(e) above shall be treated for the purposes of section 211(5) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 (fines payable to HM Exchequer) as if it were a fine imposed in the High Court.

(7)A direction of the Tribunal under this section is enforceable in like manner as an extract registered decree arbitral in favour of the Council bearing a warrant for execution issued by the sheriff court of any sheriffdom in Scotland.

(8)The Scottish Ministers may by order made by statutory instrument—

(a)amend subsection (1)(e) by substituting for the amount for the time being specified in that subsection such other amount as appears to them to be justified by a change in the value of money;

(b)after consulting the Council and such groups of persons representing consumer interests as they consider appropriate, amend subsection (1)(f) by substituting for the amount for the time being specified in that subsection such other amount as they consider appropriate.

(9)A statutory instrument containing an order under—

(a)subsection (8)(a) is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of the Scottish Parliament;

(b)subsection (8)(b) is not to be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, the Scottish Parliament.

(10)In this section, “complainer” has the same meaning as in section 42ZA.

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Amendments (Textual)

53ZCEnforcement of Council direction: unsatisfactory professional conductS

Where a solicitor fails to comply with a direction given by the Council under section 42ZA(4) (including such a direction as confirmed or varied on appeal by the Tribunal or, as the case may be, the Court) before the expiry of the period specified in the notice relating to that direction given to him under section 42ZB(1), or such longer period as the Council may allow, the direction shall be enforceable in like manner as an extract registered decree arbitral in favour of the Council bearing a warrant for execution issued by the sheriff court of any sheriffdom in Scotland.]

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Amendments (Textual)

53A Inadequate professional services: powers of Tribunal.S

F49. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Amendments (Textual)

53B Inadequate professional services: appeal to Tribunal against Council determination or direction.S

F50. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Amendments (Textual)

53C Inadequate professional services: enforcement by Tribunal of Council direction.S

F51. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Amendments (Textual)

[F5253D Suspension etc. of investment business certificates: appeal to Tribunal.S

(1)Where, in accordance with rules made under this Act, the Council suspend or withdraw an investment business certificate or impose conditions or restrictions on it the solicitor, firm of solicitors or incorporated practice to whom it was issued may, within 21 days of the date of intimation of the decision of the Council, appeal to the Tribunal against that decision.

(2)On an appeal to the Tribunal under subsection (1) the Tribunal may quash, confirm or vary the decision being appealed against.

[F53(2A)The solicitor, firm of solicitors or, as the case may be, the incorporated practice may, before the expiry of the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which the decision of the Tribunal under subsection (2) is intimated to him or, as the case may be, it, appeal to the Court against the decision.

(2B)The Council may, before the expiry of the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which the decision of the Tribunal under subsection (2) is intimated to them, appeal to the Court against the decision.

(2C)On an appeal under subsection (2A), the Court may give such directions in the matter as it thinks fit, including directions as to the expenses of the proceedings before the Court and as to any order by the Tribunal relating to expenses.

(2D)A decision of the Court under subsection (2C) shall be final.]]

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Amendments (Textual)

54 Appeals from decisions of Tribunal.S

(1)F54. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[F55(1A)A solicitor or an incorporated practice may, before the expiry of the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which any decision by the Tribunal mentioned in subsection (1B) is intimated to him or, as the case may be, it appeal to the Court against the decision.

(1B)The decision is—

(a)where the Tribunal was satisfied as mentioned in section 53(1)(a), the finding that the solicitor has been guilty of professional misconduct;

(b)where the Tribunal was satisfied as mentioned in section 53(1)(d), the finding that the incorporated practice has failed to comply with any provision of this Act or of any rule made under this Act applicable to the practice;

(c)in any case falling within paragraph (a) or (b), or where the decision was made because of the circumstances mentioned in section 53(1)(b) or (c), any decision under section 53(2) or (5).

(1C)The Council may, before the expiry of the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which a decision by the Tribunal under section 53(2) or (5) is intimated to them, appeal to the Court against the decision; but the Council may not appeal to the Court against a decision of the Tribunal under section 53(2)(bb).

(1D)Where the Tribunal has found that a solicitor has been guilty of professional misconduct but has not directed him under section 53(2)(bb) to pay compensation, the complainer may, before the expiry of the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which the Tribunal's finding is intimated to him, appeal to the Court against the decision of the Tribunal not to make a direction under that subsection.

(1E)A complainer to whom the Tribunal has directed a solicitor under section 53(2)(bb) to pay compensation may, before the expiry of the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which the direction under that subsection is intimated to him, appeal to the Court against the amount of the compensation directed to be paid.

(1F)On an appeal under any of subsections (1A) to (1E), the Court may give such directions in the matter as it thinks fit, including directions as to the expenses of the proceedings before the Court and as to any order by the Tribunal relating to expenses.

(1G)A decision of the Court under subsection (1A), (1B), (1C), (1D), (1E) or (1F) shall be final.]

(2)Where

[F56(a)]the Tribunal has exercised the power conferred by section 53(6) to direct that its decision shall take effect on the date on which it is intimated to the solicitor concerned, the solicitor may, within 21 days of that date, apply to the Court for an order varying or quashing the direction in so far as it relates to the date of taking effect [F57;

(b)the Tribunal has ordered the revocation of the recognition under section 34(1A) of an incorporated practice, the incorporated practice may within 21 days of the date when the order is intimated to it apply to the court for an order varying (subject to the limit of 60 days referred to in subsection (6A) of section 53) the direction under that subsection;]

[F58(c)the Tribunal has exercised the power conferred by section 53(6B) to direct that its order shall take effect on the day on which it is intimated to the solicitor, firm of solicitors or incorporated practice concerned, the solicitor, firm of solicitors or incorporated practice may, before the expiry of the period of 21 days beginning with that day, apply to the court for an order varying or quashing the direction in so far as it relates to the day on which the order takes effect];

and on any such application the Court may make the order applied for or such other order with respect to the matter as it thinks fit.

[F59(2A)In subsections (1D) and (1E), “complainer” has the same meaning as in section 42ZA.

(2B)F54. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(2C)F54. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .]

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Amendments (Textual)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C6S. 54 applied (with modifications) (1.10.2004) by The Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 (Foreign Lawyers and Multi-national Practices) Regulations (S.S.I. 2004/383), {reg. 13}

[F6054AAppeals from decisions of Tribunal: unsatisfactory professional conductS

(1)A solicitor in respect of whom a decision has been made by the Tribunal under section 53ZB(1), (2), (3) or (4) may, before the expiry of the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which the decision is intimated to him, appeal to the Court against the decision.

(2)A complainer may, before the expiry of the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which a decision by the Tribunal under section 53ZB to which this subsection applies is intimated to him, appeal to the Court against the decision.

(3)Subsection (2) applies to the following decisions of the Tribunal under section 53ZB—

(a)a decision under subsection (1)(a) quashing the Council's determination upholding the complaint;

(b)a decision under subsection (1)(c) quashing or varying a direction by the Council that the solicitor pay compensation;

(c)a decision under subsection (1)(f) directing the solicitor to pay compensation;

(d)a decision under subsection (2)(b) not to direct the solicitor to pay compensation;

(e)a decision under subsection (2)(c) confirming the Council's decision not to uphold the complaint;

(f)a decision under subsection (3) confirming the Council's decision not to direct the solicitor to pay compensation;

(g)a decision under subsection (4) quashing the Council's direction that the solicitor pay compensation or varying the amount of compensation directed to be paid.

(4)On an appeal under subsection (1) or (2), the Court may give such directions in the matter as it thinks fit, including directions as to the expenses of the proceedings before the Court and as to any order by the Tribunal relating to expenses.

(5)A decision of the Court under subsection (4) shall be final.

(6)In this section, “complainer” has the same meaning as in section 42ZA.]

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