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SDT report 2003

 

Posted on this sites in support of: Rogue Traders

Supplemental: Solicitors' Lie Detector

 

Also available on this web site is the 2002 report

 

The 2003, 2004 and 2005 reports may be downloaded in pdf format from the SDT

 

 

THE SOLICITORS DISCIPLINARY TRIBUNAL

constituted under the Solicitors Act 1974

TRIBUNAL

Mr. A. H. Isaacs (President)

Mr. J. N. Barnecutt Mr. M. C. Baughan

(Solicitor Vice President) (Lay Vice President)

Solicitor Members Lay Members

Mr. A. G. Gibson Lady Bonham Carter

Mr. R. B. Bamford Mr. K.J. Griffin

Mr. A. Gaynor-Smith (retired in 2002)

Mr. J. R. C. Clitheroe Mr. D.E. Marlow

Mr. D. J. Leverton Dame Simone Prendergast

Mrs E. Stanley (retired in 2002)

Mr. J. C. Chesterton Mr. G. Fisher

Mr. A. G. Ground Mr. D. Gilbertson

Mr. R. J. C. Potter Ms A. Arya

Mr. A. N. Spooner Mr. M. G. Taylor

Mr. A. H. B. Holmes Mrs C. Pickering

Mr. W. M. Hartley Lady Maxwell-Hyslop

Mr. L. N. Gilford Mrs V. Murray-Chandra

Ms T Cullen Mr. J. Jackson

Mr. J. P. Davies Mrs S. Gordon

Mr. S. N. Jones

Mrs K. Todner

Mr. I. R. Woolfe

Mr. P. Kempster

Mr. P. Haworth

Mrs H. Baucher

CLERK

Mrs S.C. Elson

Solicitor

DEPUTY CLERK

Mrs. S. Whitfield

Solicitor

ADDRESS

Third Floor, Gate House, 1 Farringdon Street, London, EC4M 7NS.

DX: 395 Chancery Lane Tel: 020 7329 4808 Fax: 020 7329 4833

E-mail: enquiries@solicitorsdt.com

Web Site: www.solicitorstribunal.org.uk

2

President’s Introduction

Advertisement for new members of the Tribunal attracted a large response of almost

300. There were well over 100 applications from solicitors and almost 175

applications for lay membership. About 15% of those who had applied were

interviewed by two solicitor members, one lay member and a representative of the

Master of the Rolls following which during the course of last year the Master of the

Rolls appointed 5 new solicitor members and 3 new lay members whose names and

biographical details are shown at the end of this Annual Report. A number of those

interviewed will be suitable for appointment as Tribunal members should vacancies

occur in the near future. New members took the opportunity to attend Tribunal

hearings to familiarise themselves with the procedure and the work of the Tribunal

and the Clerk oversaw the induction of new members which was also supported by a

Training Day for all members of the Tribunal held on 27 November 2002.

The demands on the Tribunal were heavy during the year under review not because

of increased numbers of solicitors appearing before the Tribunal but more because

cases were of increasing length and complexity, 28 per cent of the sitting days being

taken up by hearings which exceeded one day. There was an increase in the

number of cases where estimates of the length of hearing were inaccurate and as a

result a number of cases had to be adjourned part heard. It will be noted that the

total number of sitting days was 126. The trend in the number of sitting days (which

is a broad measure of the level of work of the Tribunal) is shown in the table on page

10.

There are a number of factors which affect the progress of a case initiated before the

Tribunal. Progress may be affected by complexity and the number of contested

issues, by adjournments caused by concurrent criminal proceedings or by ill health

of the respondent and, as the Tribunal has more recently found, by the service of

additional allegations by means of one or more supplementary statements.

During the year the Tribunal issued a slightly revised Practice Direction regarding

disclosure of documents by applicants. This followed a judicial review of an

interlocutory decision of the Tribunal at which (based on a Practice Direction of

1996) the Tribunal had refused to order disclosure against the Law Society. This

decision was the subject of criticism on the basis that the Tribunal gave inadequate

reasons for its decision but also some doubt was cast on the lawfulness of the

original Practice Direction. Following advice from Leading Counsel, the Tribunal reissued

the Practice Direction in November 2002 with minor amendment. Although

there was a threat of a further judicial review which was not pursued, the Tribunal is

satisfied that the Practice Direction, as revised, is entirely consistent with the correct

legal position. Applicant solicitors should appreciate the need for scrupulous

compliance with the Direction which requires disclosure of all documents which, on a

sensible appraisal by the Applicant, are relevant to the issues before the Tribunal.

The working party convened by the Master of the Rolls to consider the question of

the Tribunal’s administrative independence from the Law Society has met on 5

occasions. The Tribunal remains of the view that full independence can be achieved

without primary legislation by the use of a “services” company limited by guarantee

controlled by the Tribunal which would employ the Clerk, Deputy Clerk and other

staff and be fully responsible for the administration of the Tribunal. The Tribunal

considers that the services company should be allocated (from the practising

3

certificate fee) the appropriate sum necessary to enable the Tribunal to function

efficiently. On the basis of the Law Society’s costs figure for the Tribunal included in

its 2002 Annual Accounts and the number of solicitors holding practising certificates

the cost would be about £8.00 per practising solicitor.

During the year the Law Society’s Gazette published two articles about the work of

the Tribunal. In one of them, one of the Tribunal’s lay members wrote:

“In 1998, when I joined the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal as a lay member, I

came from a public service, government and business background where I

had worked at a senior level. I had experience of working with solicitors and

counsel, and I thought I knew my way around the legal profession.

Nonetheless I must admit that as an outsider, I carried some prejudicial

baggage with me. The past four years have been a revelation. I have been

privileged to see the inner workings of the solicitors’ profession, and to take

an active part in regulating it.

Solicitors do get things wrong – they treat their clients badly, and they are

sometimes dishonest – but they are no worse than any other regulated

professionals and in many respects they are significantly better.

Solicitors have an underpinning philosophy of probity that runs through

everything they do. Solicitors have much to be proud of but they do not sell

themselves very well.”

It has been a testing year for the Clerk and her staff as well as for Tribunal members,

both lay and solicitor. On behalf of the profession I extend my grateful thanks to all

of them.

Anthony Isaacs

President

4

Constitution

The Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal ("the SDT") was created by the Solicitors Act

1974 as a statutory Tribunal. Previously the conduct of members of the

solicitors’ profession had been controlled by the Disciplinary Committee of the

Law Society. The SDT is constituted with Solicitor members none of whom are

connected with the Council of the Law Society and lay members drawn from a

wide variety of backgrounds. All Tribunal members are appointed by the Master

of the Rolls. The Tribunal’s procedure is governed by the Solicitors (Disciplinary

Proceedings) Rules 1994 (S. I. No. 288).

Applications

The number of applications to the Tribunal decreased by about 10 per cent in the

year to 30 April 2003. The trend towards longer and more complex cases has

continued. Members’ sitting days continue at a high level. Their willingness to

respond, and preside for long hours, and the use of two court rooms has enabled the

Tribunal to keep pace with its workload. The burden particularly on the Clerk and

her staff remains substantial.

The number of cases outstanding at the year end, which had remained fairly

constant over a number of years, remained at the improved level achieved at the

year end 30 April 2002. The number of applications to the Tribunal is not directly

related to the speed with which cases can be dealt with as numbers do not

distinguish between those cases which will be concluded quickly and those requiring

a lengthy hearing.

Explanation and Details of some aspects of the Tribunal’s work

Speed of Process and Duration of cases

1 So far as the Tribunal is concerned, a case starts with the lodgement of an

application and a Rule 4 Statement delivered by the applicant to the Tribunal.

The matter is then considered to determine whether a prima facie case is

made out. Thereafter the statement is served on the respondent by the

Tribunal when the respondent is given under the Rules at least six weeks'

notice of a pre listing day when the parties are requested to indicate whether

or not the allegations are admitted and the anticipated length of hearing. A

hearing date is fixed at the pre listing day.

2. A survey of cases heard substantively during the period under review shows

that in 45 per cent of those cases the average length of time was about six

months from the inception of the case before the Tribunal until the conclusion

of the substantive hearing. 49 per cent were concluded between six months

and one year, 12 per cent were outstanding for more than a year from the

date of issue of the Rule 4 Statement.

5

Cases may be delayed because the applicant or respondent (or both) are not

ready to proceed especially where the allegations are not admitted.

The chart below analyses the main reasons (and the number of cases to

which those reasons apply) in the 29 cases that were outstanding for more

than 1 year from the date of issue of the Rule 4 statement.

3. Time limits apply for the service of notices under the Civil Evidence Act and in

connection with other procedural matters. The Tribunal expedites cases if the

parties seek an early hearing.

4. The hearing date for a case estimated by the parties to be lengthy (extending

over more than one day) will depend on the availability of the parties, counsel,

witnesses and Tribunal members and whether or not other cases have been

listed requiring courtroom accommodation and the services of a Clerk. Over

the last two years the Tribunal has seen an increase in the length and

complexity of cases to which the Human Rights legislation has given some

impetus.

5. 35 cases took one day or more to reach the conclusion of the substantive

hearing. Of these, 22 cases took one day, 8 cases took two days, 1case

took five days and 1 case took nine days. In addition 3 interlocutory hearings

took up a whole day. These more lengthy cases took up 55 working days

compared to 66 in the previous year.

10

6

5

3

5

Outstanding Criminal

Proceedings

Procedural

Challenges

Outstanding Civil

Proceedings

Supplementary

Statements/further

Respondents added

Other e.g ill-health of

Respondent;

unavailability of

documents

6

Solicitors struck off the Roll

78 Solicitors were struck off the Roll in the year under review. Examples of conduct

leading to a striking off were where:-

• Solicitors were found dishonestly to have misappropriated client money

• Solicitors had a criminal conviction

• Solicitors grossly misled clients

• Solicitors knowingly employed a struck off or suspended solicitor without

the consent of the Law Society (s.41 Solicitors Act 1974). This offence

carries a mandatory penalty of suspension or strike off.

The solicitor had, amongst many things, been deceitful in the course of a business

transaction, failed to honour an undertaking, failed to comply with a Court Order and

had breached the Solicitors Indemnity Rules. The Tribunal considered that the

solicitor’s conduct had been so serious that in the interests of the public and the

good reputation of the solicitors’ profession he should be struck off the Roll of

Solicitors.

A solicitor may be struck off in the absence of an allegation of dishonesty

in relation to financial affairs where, his behaviour is disgraceful.

Suspension from practice

27 Solicitors were suspended indefinitely.

4 Solicitors were suspended for one year or more

8 Solicitors were suspended for less than one year

These are cases where the solicitor's offences were serious but not considered

sufficient to justify permanent removal of a right to practise. Included in such cases

are those where the respondent suffers from a serious illness.

The solicitor paid his fees from client account without delivering bills to clients; he

failed to honour professional undertakings; accepted instructions to act for a client

from a third party; acted where his own interests conflicted with those of a client and

without instructions. There had been a previous appearance before the Tribunal

when the solicitor had been fined £6,000. The solicitor had provided unacceptable

explanations. The solicitor was suspended from practice for an indefinite period.

The Tribunal considered the solicitor’s conduct just fell short of the need for

the ultimate sanction of a strike off.

7

Fines and Costs Orders

Fines are payable to H.M. Treasury and totalled in the year under review £350,250.

Costs orders are sometimes subject to a detailed assessment. In cases where fixed

costs were ordered, the aggregate of fixed costs awarded to the applicant (including

in some cases the costs of the Law Society's investigation accountant) amounted to

£718,888.20.

83 solicitors were subject to orders imposing fines upon them. Fines ranged from

£250 to £17,500.

The allegations against the solicitor were that he had been guilty of conduct

unbefitting a solicitor in that he had failed to carry out instructions in a probate matter

diligently and promptly: failed to answer and/or unreasonably delayed in answering

communications from his clients; and failed to deal promptly and substantively with

correspondence from the OSS.

There had been a serious case of delay of some three years. This had been a

simple estate which should have been dealt with within three to four months. There

had been mismanagement and neglect of the file. The Respondent had made

restitution and had made appropriate changes in his office to prevent a recurrence.

His referees spoke highly of him. The solicitor was fined £7,500.

Fines are imposed in a wide variety of cases of which the above is but an

example.

Reprimand

14 solicitors were reprimanded. An example is shown in the box below.

A solicitor who had not been qualified for the required 3 years exercised supervision

of a firm in breach of Practice Rule 13. There had been no complaints from clients.

The solicitor was reprimanded.

The rule is designed to ensure that recently qualified solicitors are subject to

appropriate supervision from an experienced member of the profession. This

protects the public and the reputation of the profession.

Mandatory penalty for employment of struck off or suspended solicitors

Under S41 of The Solicitors Act 1974 a solicitor may not knowingly employ a

struck off or suspended solicitor without obtaining the Law Society's consent.

As noted last year, many solicitors appear to be unaware of the fact that

knowingly employing a struck off or suspended solicitor without the consent

8

of the Law Society is an offence under s.41 of the Solicitors Act for which

there is a mandatory penalty of suspension or strike off.

Restoration to the Roll

The Tribunal considered 2 applications for restoration to the Roll. I was granted and

1 was refused.

Because he had acted towards other solicitors in a way which was deceitful and had

failed to answer letters addressed to him by the OSS the former solicitor had been

struck off the Roll in 1995. The Tribunal said it was sad that a young solicitor at the

start of his career should have given a false reference to prospective employers.

The struck off solicitor had failed in an application for restoration in 2000. The

struck off solicitor had worked successfully and well in a number of jobs outside the

law and maintained his young family. With a view to rehabilitating himself in the

solicitors profession he had voluntarily worked for a firm of solicitors with the consent

of the Law Society. He had worked very long hours working in the evening and at

weekends. The Law Society, the Respondent to the application, adopted a neutral

stand. The Tribunal recognised that the struck off solicitor had fallen from grace

whilst under a great deal of pressure and gave him full credit for his remorse and his

commitment to work. He had learned a salutary lesson. The Tribunal restored the

struck off solicitor to the Roll.

Solicitors involved in dishonest behaviour will only exceptionally be restored

to the Roll. The circumstances in this case were exceptional.

9

The cost of running the Tribunal

The costs of the Tribunal according to figures supplied by the Law Society for the

calendar year have over the recent past been as follows:- (figures in £’000).

Total

£’000

Annual cost per practising

solicitor £

1998 363 4.53

1999 419 5.23

2000 526 6.57

2001 605 7.56

2002 622 7.76

(The charge per practising solicitor is an approximate indication based on there

being an average of 80,000 practising solicitors.)

The lay members are remunerated by the Lord Chancellor’s Department which also

is responsible for their expenses. (approx £40,000 (£37,000 in 2001)

10

Hearings

During the year under review the Tribunal sat on 126 Days (129 in the previous year)

for the hearing of applications.

During the period under review the following applications were received.

APPLICATIONS RECEIVED To

30/4/03

To

30/4/02

Number of applications involving practising solicitors -

Relating to 220 (259) solicitors and 0 (1) registered foreign

lawyer*

190 206

Number of applications in respect of solicitors’ clerks -

Relating to 2 (4) clerks*

2 4

Number of applications for restoration to the Roll 4 11

Number of applications to revoke an order under s.43 5 2

Number of applications seeking determination of an indefinite

period of suspension

3 4

Number of applications made in respect of former solicitors 1 0

TOTAL 205 227

*(It should be noted that one application may be in respect of two or more solicitors

or clerks. – previous year’s figures appear in brackets)

An order made pursuant to s.43 of the Solicitors Act 1974 prevents a solicitor from

employing the clerk to whom the order relates without the consent of the Law

Society.

The total number of applications received during the year under review (compared

with those received in previous years) and the number of sitting days were as

follows:

Year ending 30th April No. of applications No. of sitting days

1999 236 100

2000 276 101

2001 207 114

2002 227 129

2003 205 126

If two divisions of the Tribunal sit at the same time on the same day this is counted in

the above table as two sitting days.

Of the applications made in the year ending 30th April 2003, 20 were made by

members of the public. No prima facie case was established in respect of 15 of

11

them, 1 awaits a decision as to whether or not a prima facie case is established, 3

were withdrawn by the applicant and 1 has been listed for a hearing. Applications

for Restoration to the Roll, for determination of an indefinite suspension or the

revocation of a S.43 Order accounted for 12 matters. The balance was of

applications made by the OSS. 3 applications were withdrawn.

The number of cases concluded in the year under review in respect of which a

supplementary statement was filed was 44 and in 12 cases two or more such

statements were filed.

SUMMARY OF ORDERS

Orders made by the Tribunal during the period under review are listed below. It

should be noted that a distinction must be made between applications received and

Orders made. A number of Orders made relate to applications made prior to the

year under review. Figures in brackets relate to the year 2001/02.

A. 78 solicitors were ordered to be struck off the Roll (77)

B. 39 solicitors were ordered to be suspended from practice (39)

C. 83 solicitors were subject to orders imposing fines upon them (75 in the

previous year). Fines ranged from £250 to £17,500 and totalled £350,250

(£429,400).

D. 14 solicitors were reprimanded (4).

E. There was 1 case in which no o rder was made (3).

F. There were 2 cases in which an order for costs only was made (0).

G. There were 3 cases in which the Tribunal found none of the allegations to

have been substantiated (5).

H. The Tribunal considered 2 applications for restoration to the Roll (12). 1 was

granted and 1 was refused.

I. Orders were made pursuant to Section 43 of the Solicitors Act 1974 in respect

of 1 clerk (18).

J. There were 4 applications for revocation of a Section 43 order (2). 2 were

granted and 2 were refused.

K. Orders prohibiting restoration to the Roll without the consent of the Tribunal

were made in respect of 6 former solicitors (4).

L. 3 applications were made to determine a period of indefinite suspension (5).

1 was granted and 2 were refused.

12

M. In 6 cases a Direction made by the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors was

ordered to be treated as an Order of the High Court for the purposes of

enforcement (4).

N. 3 applications were withdrawn (two in the previous year). (An application may

not be withdrawn without the consent of the Tribunal.)

O. Appeals from decisions of the Tribunal lie to the Divisional Court or to the

Master of the Rolls

During the year there were 10 hearings of appeals against findings by the

Tribunal all but one of which were by Respondents. In one case the finding

of the Tribunal was upheld with a reduced penalty but in all other cases

Respondents’ appeals were unsuccessful or withdrawn. An appeal by the

Law Society sought a striking off where the Tribunal had imposed indefinite

suspension but when the criminal conviction on the basis of which the

Tribunal had made its order was quashed, the Law Society’s appeal was

dismissed on the footing that the Tribunal’s original order should also be

quashed.

There were, at the year end, 10 pending hearings of appeals.

An overview of Orders made in respect of solicitors in the last five years is shown in

the table below.

Year end 30

April

Number of

Strike Offs

Suspensions Fines Reprimands No order, costs

only order or

case dismissed

1998 58 32 76 13 3

1999 81 37 105 11 4

2000 73 38 72 14 7

2001 62 29 78 29 5

2002 77 39 75 4 8

2003 78 39 83 14 6

13

Resume of the current position

As at 30th April 2003 there are 133 current cases, (132 at the same time last year).

Of these 70 have been listed for hearing before the summer vacation (50 in the

previous year), 4 have been listed for hearing after the summer vacation (3 in the

previous year), 37 are to be dealt with on a “pre-listing day” before the summer

vacation (41 in the previous year), 22 stand adjourned pending the outcome of

further enquiry, or related criminal or civil proceedings or on health grounds (38 in

the previous year). Adjourned cases are reviewed on a regular basis.

14

ANALYSIS OF SUBSTANTIATED ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SOLICITORS

DURING THE YEAR UNDER REVIEW

The allegations have been put into seven groups. There is no uniformity in the

formulation of allegations. The analysis has been based on the allegations as

framed categorising matters as follows. Spread across the categories below

dishonesty and/or a failure to exercise proper probity, integrity and trustworthiness

was found in 27% of cases (40% last year).

SOLICITORS

The allegations were broken down into the following groups:

A CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS

B SOLICITORS ACCOUNTS RULES BREACHES

C CLIENTS MONEY Improper utilisation

Misappropriating

D FAILURES failure to pay counsel’s/agent’s fees

failure to comply with undertaking

failure to comply with OSS direction/resolution

failure to account

failure to provide costs information

failure to supervise

failure to notify change of practice address

non response to OSS/others

failure to comply with Solicitors Indemnity Rules

E BREACHES breach of duty to the court/misleading the court

breach of S.34 (Accountant's Reports)

breach of condition on Practising Certificate

breach of Practice Rules

breach of duty of good faith to others/OSS

breach of professional duty (failure to disclose)

breach of restriction on employment of struck

off/suspended solicitor

breach of Legal Aid Regulations

breach of Solicitors Publicity Code 1990

breach of Solicitors Introduction & Referral Code

1990

15

F DELAYS delay in delivery of papers

delay in professional business

G OTHER e.g. false documents

no Practising Certificate

conflict of interest

costs not justified (overcharging)

A

2% B

21%

C

7%

D

25%

E

35%

G

8% F

2% A

B

C

D

E

F

G

16

SOLICITORS CLERKS

The table below shows an overview of the Orders made by the Tribunal in respect of

solicitors’ clerks (including applications for revocation of Section 43 Order) for the

last five years.

1998 44

1999 38

2000 28

2001 19

2002 20

2003 5

* The order which may be made under section 43 of the Solicitors Act is that no

solicitor may employ or remunerate a clerk against whom serious misconduct is

established. Most cases involving clerks have been dealt with by the Law Society

since it acquired jurisdiction in 2002. Solicitor’s clerks’ cases only come before the

Tribunal if they are contested, or are applications for revocation of a section 43

Order.

17

PART IV

THE MEMBERS OF THE TRIBUNAL

The following members were re-appointed by the Master of the Rolls at the end of

April 2003: Anthony Isaacs, David Leverton, Elodie Stanley, Colin Chesterton,

Jeremy Barnecutt, John Potter and Anna Maxwell-Hyslop.

During the year under review members of the Tribunal attended two judicial training

sessions.

Two lay members. K. J. Griffin OBE and Dame Simone Prendergast DBE retired

during the year having served on the Tribunal for 20 years and 16 years respectively.

The Tribunal gratefully acknowledges their conscientiousness and wise counsel.

Brief biographical details of the members of the Tribunal appear on page 18 of this

report.

STAFF CHANGES

No staff left during the period under review. Two new full time staff members have

been recruited during the year under review.

18

BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

Solicitor Members

Anthony H. Isaacs (President)

Member of Tribunal since 1988. After University, was articled at a City firm, qualifying in

1960. Specialised in company and commercial law and retired as Senior Partner in 1996.

Appointed in 1993 as a Nominated (i.e. independent) member of the Council of Lloyds

whose Investigations Committee he chaired from 1996 to 2000. He also carried out a DTI

inspection. Remains in active practice as a consultant to his former firm.

Anthony G. Gibson

Member of Tribunal since 1980.

Admitted in 1965. Partner in a three partner family practice in Newcastle established in

1720. President of Newcastle Incorporated Law Society 1989-90. Practises mainly in family

law, commercial conveyancing and trusts.

Richard B. Bamford

Member of Tribunal since 1984.

Admitted in 1964. Joined present Cambridgeshire private client practice in 1965; partner

1966; senior partner 1989 (to present). 50% of time since 1987 spent on administration and

legal aspects of (inter alia) navigation on the River Cam and flood defence and land

drainage for the Fens area around Ely.

Adrian Gaynor-Smith

Member of Tribunal since 1984.

Admitted in 1963. Private practice in Malvern from 1965 in partnership with his wife and

others. Now semi-retired working as consultant to their former practice. Undertakes

contentious and commercial work, commercial conveyancing and advocacy. Has undertaken

part time judicial appointments in Welfare Benefits Law, Coroners Courts, Disciplinary

Appeals Tribunal (Certified Accountants) and Deputy District Judge.

John R. C. Clitheroe

Member of Tribunal since 1992.

Admitted in 1959 specialising in criminal and commercial litigation. A former senior partner,

now a consultant in a London firm.

Advised solicitors, accountants and medical professions in ethical regulatory and disciplinary

matters since 1962.

Past member of Law Society Criminal Law Committee.

Member General Professional Programme Committee of the International Bar Association.

David J. Leverton

Member of Tribunal since 1992.

Admitted in 1958.

Former Managing Partner of a Lincoln’s Inn firm. Senior litigation lawyer in the practice: wide

cross-section of litigation experience before becoming a family law specialist twenty years

ago. Wide experience of proceedings in Court and before tribunals: one of the original

members of the standing committee set up by the Law Society and the Court of Protection

to advise on changes in procedure and the conduct of business in that Court.

19

Mrs Elodie Stanley

Member of the Tribunal since 1994.

Admitted in 1980. In partnership in three central London firms since 1983. Deals with all

aspects of property law residential and commercial and specialises in leasehold reform and

enfranchisement.

J. Colin Chesterton

Member of Tribunal since 1994.

Admitted in 1980.

Partner in a firm in Devon.

Work includes matrimonial, crime, licensing, pollution, bridleways and footpaths.

Franchise representation for the firm with Community Legal Services.

Member of Solicitors Family Law Association and the Criminal Law Panel.

Jeremy N. Barnecutt (Solicitor Vice President 2001)

Member of Tribunal since 1994.

Admitted in 1976. Partner in a London firm specialising in Chancery litigation, contentious

and non-contentious probate work.

Former member of the Supreme Court Procedure Committee.

Alan G. Ground

Member of Tribunal since 1996.

Admitted in 1962. Partner in a City firm from 1969, Leader, commercial, competition, and

EU Law Groups 1983 -1994. Law Society International Committee 1983-1992, Human

Rights Working Party 1988-1992. Director, Eurostar 1994-1997.

R. John C. Potter

Member of Tribunal since 1997. Admitted in July 1987

Higher Rights of Audience July 1999

A partner in a Legal Aid franchised Manchester firm. Exclusively undertakes defence

criminal litigation. Duty solicitor. Past President of the Manchester Law Society and

continues to be a Council Member of the Manchester Law Society, chairing the Crown and

Magistrates' Court Committee. Member of the Greater Manchester Criminal Justice Strategy

Committee and represents the Law Society on the local user committees of the Magistrates'

Court and the Crown Court.

Andrew N. Spooner

Member of Tribunal since 1999.

Admitted in 1978. Head of Commercial Disputes Management Department at a

Birmingham firm. Specialises in major commercial disputes and arbitrations. Member of the

Association of Midlands Mediators. Deputy District Judge.

20

A. H. Boyd Holmes

Member of Tribunal since 1999.

Admitted in 1976.

Managing partner of a Carlisle firm, since 1989: undertakes property & trusts work. Member

of STEP; member of CLARITY; interest in management.

William M. Hartley

Member of Tribunal since 1999.

Admitted in 1970. Partner in a Manchester firm for 27 years prior to reducing commitments

last year - specialising in non-contentious work. Member of STEP.

Author of the first six editions of "Matrimonial Conveyancing", first edition of "Declarations of

Trust” and contributor to Readers’ Digest “Know Your Rights”. Chairman of the High Peak

Division (Buxton) of the General Commissioners for Income Tax

Laurence N. Gilford

Member of Tribunal since 1999.

Admitted in 1973. Specialising in civil/commercial Litigation. In partnership in total of four

central London/City firms since 1976.

Appointed Deputy District Judge December 1991.

Miss Teresa Cullen

Member of Tribunal since 1999.

Admitted in 1983. A partner in a West End firm. Specialises in Matrimonial/litigation.

SFLA mediator; Assessor on Family Law Panel. In practice for over 20 years. Member of

the Law Society Family Law Panel (Advanced).

J. Peter Davies

Member of Tribunal since 2001.

Admitted as a Solicitor 1981. A partner in firms in London and Cardiff until 1998 when he

set up niche litigation practice in Cardiff specialising in professional negligence and personal

injury work: Deputy District Judge since 1992. President Adjudication Panel for Wales.

Stephen N. Jones

Member of Tribunal since 2001.

Admitted in December 1979. Partner in a Birmingham firm. Specialises in litigation, acting

principally for financial institutions and banks.

Deputy District Judge since August 1992.

Mrs Karen Todner

Member of Tribunal since 2002.

Admitted in 1987. Senior Partner in Criminal and Mental Health Practice, established in

1990. Duty Solicitor. Member of Serious Fraud Panel. Member of London Criminal Court

Solicitors Association and Criminal Law Society Solicitors Association.

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Roger Woolfe

Member of Tribunal since 2002.

Admitted in 1970. Partner in Holborn firm since 1971. Senior Partner since 1994.

Specialises in commercial property work. Particular interest in rules and ethics of the

solicitors’ profession as Committee Member of City of Westminster and Holborn Law

Society.

Peter Kempster

Member of Tribunal since 2002.

Admitted in 1987. Practises in corporate tax with a large London firm. Fellow of the

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. Vice-President of the Chartered

Insititute of Taxation.

Peter Haworth

Member of Tribunal since 2002.

Admitted in 1975. Higher Rights of Audience (Civil) 1997. Senior Partner of North East

Lancashire 10 Partner General Practice. Specialises in clinical and professional negligence

work together with some commericial litigation

Deputy District Judge, Deputy Master and Costs Judge.

Former member of the Civil Procedure Rules Committee and the Law Society’s

Professional Indemnity Committee.

Mrs Heather Baucher

Member of Tribunal since 2002.

Trained with present firm from 1984 – 1986. Admitted 1986. Partner in the Practice since

1989. Practised in Liverpool until 1999 when transferred to London office to head Litigation

section. Specialises in Defendant based personal injury, disease work, professional

negligence and Tribunal work.

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Lay Members

Lady Bonham Carter

Member of Tribunal since 1980.

Born and raised in USA until came to the UK as a teenager.

Served as a JP in Greenwich and Woolwich from 1966 -1990.

A member of the Immigration Appeals Tribunal 1970 - 2002.

David E. Marlow

Member of Tribunal since 1983. Chartered Accountant. Formerly Chief Executive of 3i.

Currently a Non-Executive Director of Trinity Mirror Plc.

Michael C. Baughan (Lay Vice President 2001)

Member of Tribunal since 1990.

Recently retired from Lazards where he was a Managing Director from 1986 to 1999:

Non-Executive Director of Scapa Group plc.

Mrs Caroline Pickering

Member of Tribunal since 1992. Chair of the Stonebridge Housing Action Trust, set up as a

Government initiative to regenerate a deprived and run-down council housing estate. Chair

of the Camelot Foundation, a charity set up and funded by the Camelot Group to assist

disabled and disadvantaged people. Trustee of Crisis. Formerly a Director at the Housing

Corporation for many years.

Lady Maxwell-Hyslop

Member of Tribunal since 1997.

On the staff of the Sergeant-at-Arms, House of Commons, 1966-68

Extensive experience as school governor (with responsibility for special needs) of an 11-18

comprehensive school; three years as Chairman.

Served on board of governors (Vice Chairman) of special school attached to psychiatric

clinic.

Gerald Fisher

Member of Tribunal since 1999

35 years experience in personnel work in industry, finally as Group Personnel Director of a

FTSE 100 Company.

Currently a member of Employment Tribunals, the Central Arbitration Committee and a

Council Member of Aston University. Also a member of the Regulatory Decisions

Committee of the Financial Services Authority and the Disciplinary Committee of the

Chartered Institute of Public Finances and Accountancy.

Wide experience in employment and disciplinary matters in industry and commerce.

David Gilbertson QPM

Member of the Tribunal since 1999. Retired as a Deputy Assistant

Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police in 2001 after 30 years service, the last three of

which were served as HM Assistant Inspector of Constabulary at the Home Office with

responsibility for a wide range of national policy matters. He is now a partner in an

international consultancy which specialises in change management for large organisations.

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Awarded the Queens Police Medal in 1999, he was previously responsible for all police

operations in north and west London. During a varied career, he has been a visiting lecturer

at the City University, New York, and was seconded to the New York City Police and the

National Peace Secretariat in South Africa.

He is a member of the Tom Paine Society which is committed to the principles

of democracy and freedom.

Ms Anjali Arya

Member of Tribunal since 1999.

An independent management consultant specialising in organisational development and

people management. Formerly Head of Personnel in local government. Chair of an Arts

Centre and Non Executive Director of the Crown Prosecution Service. Formerly board

member of a housing advice organisation, an HIV/Aids charity and an Asian Women’s

organisation.

Michael Taylor, CBE

Member of Tribunal since 2001.

Managing Director of his own consultancy company in Dorset. Formerly employed by the

Ministry of Defence, mainly in telecommunications, and a graduate of the Royal College of

Defence Studies, London. Awarded an MBE in the 1982 Falklands Campaign and a CBE

in the 1998 New Year Honours List. Chairman of the Dorset Police Authority, a Lay

Member of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal and a Regional Chairman of the NHS

Complaints Review Panel. Fellow of the Institute of Directors and Fellow of the Chartered

Management Institute.

Mrs Valerie Murray-Chandra

Member of Tribunal since 2002.

Born Jamaica West Indies, grew-up in UK. Acter, writer, broadcaster, JP at Highbury

Corner Magistrates Court, panel member at Inner London and City Family Proceedings

Court, Lay Advocate, recent (2001) degree in Law and History, former Probation

Committee Member involved with grievance and disciplinary hearings as well as

employment selection, former proprietor of property enterprise and currently involved in

market research.

Mr. John Jackson

Member of Tribunal since 2002.

Formerly Company secretary of British Gas and now Clerk to Dulwich College and Alleyn’s

School in South London. Has been a non-executive director in the NHS and until recently a

member of the Council of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.

Mrs Sarah Gordon

Member of Tribunal since 2002.

After qualifying as a veterinary surgeon in 1980 worked in mixed general practice for ten

years. Employed by the State Veterinary Service, Department for Environment, Food and

Rural Affairs, since 1991. Acting Divisional Veterinary Manager at Reading Animal Health

Office 1999-2000. Veterinary Manager of the Leicester Foot and Mouth Disease Centre in

2001 then Deputy Head of the Defra FMD Claims Unit. Member of the Royal College of

Veterinary Surgeons.

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STAFF

Susan Elson

Solicitor admitted in 1970. Clerk to the Tribunal for eighteen years.

Accredited Mediator, Sits as part time Immigration Adjudicator; part time Parking & Traffic

Adjudicator; a member of the panel of Legal Assessors to the Disciplinary Committee of the

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons; member of Disciplinary Board of Royal Institution of

Chartered Surveyors. Experience of legal work in private practice and in industry.

Sheila Whitfield

Solicitor admitted in 1982. Joined the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in 1998 as part time

Deputy Clerk to provide cover for the full time Clerk and to enable the use of double courts.

MA Cantab (Modern Languages)

Worked in private practice in a City firm and subsequently in local government, specialising

in the law relating to Mental Health and Incapacity.

Sits as a part time President of the Mental Health Review Tribunal.

Valerie Ralph

Assistant Clerk since March 1994. Main responsibilities include listing of cases, members

rota and answering general correspondence.

Previously worked for South West Essex Magistrates Services, originally as a Court

Assistant and then as a Trainee Court Clerk.

Diploma in Magisterial Law: Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives. (October 2002)

Elizabeth Aldred

PA to the Clerk and Tribunal Secretary since August 1995. Duties include day to day

administration of the Tribunal as well as preparation for AGM and Training Days.

BA (Hons) in Law and Business Studies and MSc in Criminal Justice Studies.

Christine Bannister

Part time Audio Secretary since July 1994. Main responsibility is typing the Tribunal’s

Findings.

Christine Donnelly

Full time Audio Secretary since March 2001. Main responsibility is typing the Tribunal’s

Findings.

Previously worked for a number of City legal practices in varied areas of law over the past

twenty years.

Janine Ralph

Administrative Assistant since October 2000. Duties include responsibility for archives and

general office administration.

Previously worked in Travel, having passed COTAC exams, and also for the Automobile

Association.

Samantha Pinto

Part time audio secretary since November 2001. Main responsibility is typing the Tribunal’s

Findings.

Recently completed a legal secretarial course and obtained various OCR qualifications.

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Carol Stevens

Full-time audio secretary/receptionist since September 2002. Main responsibilities are

reception duties and typing the Tribunal’s Findings.

Previously worked for the same firm of solicitors for over 30 years having progressed from

office junior to office manager.

Senel Enver

Administrative Assistant since September 2002. Duties include responsibility for archives

and general office administration.

Previously worked in a county court as a clerk to the Circuit Judges.

 

 

 

 

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