Compliance Committee statement of June 2011

Adjudication and other formal decision making in the Solicitors Regulation Authority

  1. This Statement sets out the basis and practice of adjudicators and other decision makers appointed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). It does not amend or displace any rules or other policy related to decision making.
  2. In this statement, "adjudicators" includes employees of the SRA and external members. This statement does not affect or alter the job descriptions of employed adjudicators. "Decision makers" includes adjudicators but also any person making formal decisions for the SRA.
  3. External adjudicators will be appointed in accordance with OCPA principles overseen by an independent assessor.
  4. The function of decision makers is to decide upon matters referred to them by the operational units of the SRA for that purpose.
  5. In making decisions, adjudicators and other decision makers are part of the internal decision-making structure of the SRA.
  6. Decision makers must reach decisions fairly, objectively, in the public interest, on the evidence before them, and in accordance with best practice in the promotion of equality and diversity. Decision makers will not be influenced by other individuals [internal or external to the SRA] other than in accordance with normal practice or policy. Decision makers will not take into account any material that might influence their decision that has not been formally put before them and disclosed where appropriate for representations to be made.
  7. In particular, decisions should be (a) fair to all individuals and groups regardless of their ethnic origin, race, colour, gender, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment or age (b) proper in their application of SRA rules and policies and (c) consistent.
  8. Decision makers must apply SRA rules and have regard to written SRA policies.
  9. Adjudicators Decision Makers may give directions in individual matters to ensure that they are decided fairly and competently but it is not their function to direct how investigations should be carried out.
  10. Decisions are subject to any policy or rules providing for reconsideration.
  11. Adjudicators are accountable to the Chief Adjudicator for the quality and timeliness of their decisions.
  12. The Chief Adjudicator is responsible and accountable to the Executive Director – Legal for the efficient and effective management of the Adjudication function and for the overall quality and timeliness of adjudication decisions that have been made.
  13. Adjudicators will meet from time to time for training purposes and to discuss their functions with the agreement of and under the leadership of the Chief Adjudicator.
  14. Administrative arrangements

  15. In relation to an individual decision, any communications with Adjudicators should be made via the Adjudication Administration team and disclosed where appropriate. Investigators should not discuss or refer to the merits of a case with Adjudicators.
  16. The role of the panel secretary includes:
    • a. Ensuring that administrative arrangements are effective;
    • b. In particular, ensuring that all relevant papers are before the panel;
    • c. Ensuring that the Chair completes and signs minutes in a timely and efficient manner;
    • d. Providing assistance on technical and procedural matters to adjudicators including on the content of written SRA policy or the SRA Handbook.
     
  17. Allocation of cases for decision by Adjudicators is carried out by the Adjudication team without influence from any person.

SRA Compliance Committee
June 2011

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