Chairman's Remarks: I am pleased to introduce the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal Annual Report for 2015-2016. The Tribunal continues to deal with a busy caseload and this year has also undergone some changes with regard to its administration and personnel.
In June 2016 I became Chairman of the Tribunal. I have been a solicitor member of the Tribunal for ten years and am pleased to be able to serve the Tribunal in this new capacity. I would like to thank the previous Chairman, Alistair Cockburn for his dedicated service over many years and for agreeing to remain as a member of the Tribunal in a Vice Chair role. In August 2016 our Clerk Judith Lea retired. On behalf of all Tribunal members I wish her well and thank her for her contribution to the Tribunal over the past fifteen years. Judith’s position has been filled by our new Clerk, Nicola Ross, who is employed by SSDT Administration Limited, a company created in June 2016 to administer the Tribunal. This year we also said goodbye to solicitor members Dorothy Boyd and Malcolm McPherson and welcomed new solicitor members Beverley Atkinson, Christopher Mackay and Catherine Hart. I also extend the Tribunal’s thanks to Depute Clerk Audrey Watson for her many years of service.
The Tribunal met 45 times this year to deal with disciplinary matters. Our main business continues to be complaints of professional misconduct although we also dealt with a small number of appeals against Law Society determinations in unsatisfactory professional conduct cases. Findings are available on the Tribunal website and results can be filtered according to the information sought. The website has proved to be a valuable resource for members, solicitors and the public. On average it receives 3,127 visits per month. The website also contains guidance for Secondary Complainers when dealing with compensation claims. Unrepresented Secondary Complainers can find it very challenging to provide the correct information to the Tribunal to allow an award to be made and are often unaware until they receive our guidance that they might be found liable in expenses in the event that their case is unsuccessful. The Tribunal continues to have reservations about the appropriateness of the Tribunal dealing with compensation in these cases.
Looking to the next Tribunal year, we are anticipating the challenges ahead, some of which are likely to flow from the Court of Session’s decision in the appeal by Anderson Strathern LLP and Another v Scottish Legal Complaints Commission  CSIH 71. However, the Tribunal and SSDT Administration Limited are well placed to meet these and we are looking forward to another year making our contribution towards our stated aims of protecting the public from harm and maintaining public confidence in the legal profession.
Administered by SSDT Administration Limited, company number: 5376158
Registered Office: Unit 3.5, The Granary Business Centre, Coal Road, Cupar, Fife, KY15 5YQ
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