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The “Answer” and evidence gathering

The SDT’s directions allow you to respond to the Rule 5 statement. This is your chance to file a defence to the charges, setting out why you contest some or all of the allegations and the evidence you rely on. It's also an opportunity to introduce any documentary evidence not submitted to the SDT by the SRA with the Rule 5 statement. The form of a response is somewhat flexible – it can be a formal pleading (referred to as the “Answer”) or a witness statement. 

We’ll work with you to ensure that your defence is as strong and effective as it can be. We can advise you on circumstances where a concession may be appropriate, and about demonstrating that you've reflected on what has happened and learned from it. These can be key factors in the SDT’s decision making, so it's always worth giving them careful consideration when responding to the Rule 5 statement.

Once your defence has been served, we can advise you on the process of developing witness evidence and obtaining character testimonials. Whilst character testimonials are often used in mitigation, they can also be powerful evidence when resisting serious substantive allegations like a lack of integrity.

We’ll consider with you whether there’s any need for further applications to the SDT, including for disclosure from the SRA, third parties or the introduction of expert evidence in order, to build the strongest possible defence for you

If you have any questions about how we can help you prepare the best possible defence in your case, you can contact us on 020 3780 0406 or at RDteam@leighday.co.uk.

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