• Application 11575-2016
• Hearing 22 December 2016
• Reasons 10 January 2017
The SDT refused an application to vary conditions it had imposed on 9 September 2016 when ordering that the respondent be suspended from practice for five years, that suspension itself being suspended for five years, including that the respondent should not work as a solicitor other than in employment approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
The basis of the application was that three firms had applied for permission to employ the respondent; that the applicant had not dealt with those applications, and that the respondent could not work and had no income as a result.
The condition requiring the respondent to obtain approval from the applicant before working as a solicitor was within its normal range of conditions or restrictions. It was not unusual or intended to be punitive or oppressive. Rather, it was to ensure that a solicitor was subject to proper supervision, from a properly managed firm or other body, in order to protect the public.
In order to justify variation of such a condition, the SDT would need to be satisfied that there had been a change of circumstances, or that the passage of time meant that the condition was no longer appropriate.
There had been no appeal against the judgment or order, and the respondent’s application had been made only two months after the date of the order. He had not contended, by way of an appeal, that the order was disproportionate or wrong. There had been no change of circumstances, and certainly there had been no change arising from the passage of time.
The respondent’s suggestion that there would be adequate protection for the public if he were to notify the applicant after carrying out work for a firm was not realistic or reasonable, as it would not afford the public proper protection; the applicant would not know if the respondent was being adequately supervised in carrying out his work.
The respondent had failed to show any, or any sufficient, reason to justify the removal or variation of the condition.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £1,985.