Restoration to the Roll of Solicitors

If a solicitor’s name has been struck off the Roll of Solicitors, an application for restoration can be made to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT). Applications of this nature need careful preparation.

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Sir Thomas Bingham (then Master of the Rolls), sitting in the Court of Appeal in the case of Bolton v The Law Society (1994) 1 WLR 512 CA (Civ Div) noted:

“It often happens that a solicitor appearing before the Tribunal can adduce a wealth of glowing tribute from his professional brethren. He can often show that for him and his family the consequences of striking off or suspension would be little short of tragic. Often, he will say, convincingly, that he has learnt his lesson and will not offend again. On application for restoration after striking off all of these points may be made, and the former solicitor may also be able to point to real efforts made to re-establish himself and redeem his reputation. All of these matters are relevant and should be considered. But none of them touches the essential issue, which is the need to maintain among members of the public a well-founded confidence that any solicitor whom they will instruct will be a person of unquestionable integrity, probity and trustworthiness …. the reputation of the profession is more important than the fortunes of any individual member”

A former solicitor who is seeking to persuade the SDT to allow restoration to the Roll will need to show that successful rehabilitation and also that restoration will not damage the confidence that the public places in the legal profession.

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It often happens that a solicitor appearing before the Tribunal can adduce a wealth of glowing tribute from his professional brethren. He can often show that for him and his family the consequences of striking off or suspension would be little short of tragic. Often, he will say, convincingly, that... he has learnt his lesson and will not offend again. On application for restoration after striking off all of these points may be made, and the former solicitor may also be able to point to real efforts made to re-establish himself and redeem his reputation. All of these matters are relevant and should be considered. But none of them touches the essential issue, which is the need to maintain among members of the public a well-founded confidence that any solicitor whom they will instruct will be a person of unquestionable integrity, probity and trustworthiness …. the reputation of the profession is more important than the fortunes of any individual member

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Sir Thomas Bingham

How can I provide evidence of my rehabilitation?

In most instances, it is unlikely for the Tribunal to find that you have been rehabilitated unless at least 6 years have elapsed since you were struck off.

Evidence of rehabilitation will include references from other members of the profession as well as from members of the public. Referees will need to know the circumstances which led to the strike off. You should also show that you have kept up to date with the law whilst you have been out of practice and that you have worked in a position of trust in the period. In many cases, it will assist to show that you have been permitted to work in a practice regulated by the SRA.

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How can I show that the public trust in the profession will not be diminished by my restoration?

This is a much more difficult hurdle to overcome given the comments made by Sir Thomas Bingham (detailed above).

It is likely that you will have to demonstrate that exceptional circumstances exist which will allow restoration to the Roll.

In reaching their decision whether public trust in the profession will be diminished the SDT will take into account the nature of the misconduct which led to the striking off. It will be important to include any mitigating features from the original circumstances.

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Our experienced solicitors can help you in respect of an application for Restoration to the Roll. Our services include:

– Advising you on the prospects of your Restoration application;
– Drafting your application for Restoration;
– Advising you on what evidence of rehabilitation you may need to submit;
– Representing you before the SDT.

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