This year has seen some changes to the membership of the Tribunal. We were sorry to lose the experience of several of our established members due to the expiry of their terms of appointment. We said a fond farewell to Andrew Jones, Irene Kitson, Catriona Whitfield, Rosemarie McIlwhan and Alistair Cockburn. We wish them all the best for the future. Our thanks go to Alistair Cockburn for his many years of service to the profession and the Tribunal, particularly in his role as Chair of the Tribunal for many years. We wish him a long and happy retirement. Seven new members have joined the Tribunal. Dozie Azubike, Sally Swinney, Paula Charlesworth, Carla Fraser, John Duffy, Douglas Cochrane and Christine Pacitti have taken their positions with enthusiasm and we are grateful for the skills and experience they bring to their roles.
The Tribunal noted Esther Roberton’s recommendations in her “Fit for the Future” report following the Independent Review of the Regulation of Legal Services. The Tribunal was pleased to participate in the review and looks forward to providing its views and experience to any consultation launched by the Scottish Government.
As you can see from the findings produced this year, the Tribunal has taken a more proactive approach to protecting personal data. However, it is obliged by paragraphs 14 and 14A of Schedule 4 to the 1980 Act to publish its decisions in full and it is only allowed to refrain from publishing any names or other details if these would damage or by likely to damage the interest of persons other than the solicitor or their partners or families. The Tribunal also produced a media policy to assist members of the press.
The Tribunal continues to evolve and 2019 will provide further opportunities for change. Among other things, the Tribunal will start the process of re-drafting its procedural rules. I am confident that our members are able to meet the challenges next year will bring and that they will continue to uphold the standards and reputation of the profession and protect the public.