The sanctions and appeals report sets out the current regulatory framework for the administration of sanctions and appeals for individuals regulated by approved regulators. It builds open some of the recommendations in our the LSB’s Blueprint recommendations. This document also considers best practice adopted by the regulators of other regulated sectors. The main issues that require further work include:
- Improved clarity and transparency of sanctions and appeal arrangements and of the decisions taken
- The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) and Bar Standards Board (BSB) / Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS) to change from criminal to civil standard of proof for all cases
- All appeals from regulatory decisions (whether taken by regulators or tribunals) to be heard by the First Tier Tribunal – to ensure consistency of sanctions in an increasingly diverse, multi-disciplinary market
- Financial penalty powers for non-ABS firms to be increased to the level of those for ABS.
The Legal Services Act 2007 has not given regulators the powers they need to introduce such changes to all aspects of their sanctions and appeals framework. Nor does the LSB have the powers to make these changes. Most will require legislative change or judicial decisions that set precedent. However some of the recommendations can be acted upon without recourse to legislation or judicial precedent.
The next steps for the LSB will be to use the regulatory standards programme to ensure that the regulators are delivering the required level of transparency of sanctions and appeals arrangements.