Sharp rise in cost of Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal prosecutions, report finds

The latest annual report of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) suggests that the costs incurred by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) associated with prosecuting lawyers on account of rule breaches has risen significantly in the past year.

According to the study, costs of more than £3m were awarded to the SRA last calendar year, up from just £1.7m in 2015 and representative of a year-on-year rise of almost 44 per cent.

The SDT’s report suggests that the “significant increase” can, in part, be explained by the fact that “a number of substantial cases were heard during the period [studied]”.

It adds that, in 2016, “cases lasted longer and were more complex in terms of the investigations carried out by the SRA”.

The study concluded that the nature of the cases had, in turn, had a knock-on effect on the costs and workload of the Tribunal – which sat on 260 days last year, up 41 per cent on 2015.

It found that 76 solicitors were struck off last year, up from 56 in 2015 and 48 in 2014. It also revealed that the annual cost of administering the SDT per practising solicitor chimed in at approximately £20.97 – a small but not substantial year-on-year increase.

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