The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal today revealed there will be no costs order against the SRA relating to the Leigh Day prosecution.
Tribunal panel chairman Simon Tinkler confirmed the decision in a short statement posted on the SDT website this morning.
Last month human rights firm Leigh Day applied for the SRA to pay 60% of its final costs bill, estimated at £7.8m, incurred through the seven-week hearing earlier this year.
The firm and three of its solicitors were cleared of allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of claims by Iraqi civilians against the Ministry of Defence, and a document which proved the claims were not valid.
Leigh Day applied during a two-day hearing for an interim £1.5m payment on account, but the SRA contested this partly on the grounds it will appeal the overall decision.
SRA counsel Tim Dutton QC said the regulator’s costs – understood to be around £1.5m – were significantly lower than those incurred by Leigh Day, and the regulator had yet to see a breakdown of elements of the firm’s costs.
The tribunal’s order effectively means both parties will end up paying their own costs. If Leigh Day had been successful, it would have meant a significant financial burden for the profession, with every solicitor paying the equivalent of around £33 to cover costs.
The SRA can now lodge its appeal against the tribunal’s findings and will begin proceedings immediately, the Gazette understands. The regulator declined to comment on today’s order.
In a statement, a Leigh Day spokesman said: 'We are disappointed, given the fact that over 250 charges against the firm and colleagues here were found unproved, we believed it was appropriate to seek some measure of the costs involved – paid both by ourselves and by our insurers - in defending ourselves. However, we respect the decision of the SDT in what was an unusual application.’