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Issue, certification and directions

The SRA starts proceedings by making an application to the SDT. The application is commonly referred to as the “Rule 5 statement”, after the relevant rule in the Solicitors (Disciplinary Proceedings) Rules 2007 (now superseded by the Solicitors (Disciplinary Proceedings) Rules 2019). In effect, it is the SRA’s indictment and it should set out all the allegations, facts and matters relevant to the charges against you, together with any relevant documentary evidence in support.

On receipt of the Rule 5 statement, a solicitor member of the SDT will consider its contents and certify whether there is a case to answer. This is a low threshold, as it is only necessary for the Rule 5 statement to disclose a prima facie case in order to be certified. 

Once the SDT has certified there is a case to answer, a copy of the Rule 5 statement and any supporting documents will be served on you or – where we’re instructed on your behalf – on us, together with directions to trial.

The directions are usually in a standard form and will either include a date for a substantive hearing or, where the SRA estimates the hearing will last over a day, a case management hearing. Depending on the scope of the allegations made, the volume of documentary evidence in play and involvement of additional witnesses, the standard directions may not be appropriate to your case. Where this is the case, we can correspond with the SRA and the SDT to negotiate about the timetable to a final hearing to ensure you have enough time to put forward the best defence possible.

If you have any questions about proceedings in the SDT, you can contact us on 020 3780 0406 or at RDteam@leighday.co.uk.

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