To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what advice her Department has issued on lay representation for complainants appearing before a solicitors' disciplinary tribunal.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) is an independent organisation and as such this Department has not issued any advice on lay representation for those appearing before it. The SDT issues no written guidance on representation before the Tribunal but provides a list of solicitors specialising in this area to all parties involved.
The SDT has confirmed that in over 90 per cent. of cases a person complaining to the SDT makes his or her complaint via the Law Society, which will itself refer the complaint to the SDT. In cases where there is a direct complaint to the tribunal from a member of the public, he or she may represent themselves or obtain professional or lay representation. However, lay representation is hardly ever used.