Solicitors Tribunal chief cries freedom

Former Stephenson Harwood senior partner Anthony Isaacs has become president of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).

One of his first moves as president has been to call for greater separation of the SDT from the Law Society.
The SDT deals with gross misconduct of solicitors and is responsible for striking solicitors off the Roll. Last year, the SDT cost each practising solicitor in the country an average of £6. Currently, it has its costs paid by the Law Society, including the SDT clerk's salary.
“I believe there's a conflict between the Law Society funding our clerk and its role as a disciplinary and self-regulatory body,” said Isaacs. “We're an independent judiciary body that should not be seen to be influenced or funded by the Law Society. Perhaps we should be given our £6 a head cost from each solicitor's practising fee.”
Applications to the SDT fell 25 per cent in the year ending April 2001. During that time it received 207 complaints compared with 267 last year, and struck off 62 solicitors.