Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Should Legal Services Disciplinary Findings Be Published?

I missed the English Court of Appeal ruling last month refusing to grant an injunction to stop Private Eye from publishing details of a complaint against a former President of the Law Society, Michael Napier. According to The Times the ruling also clears the way for thousands of other cases each year against solicitors and barristers to be publicised, as well as findings by the legal ombudsmen who act as a last “court” of appeal.

One lawyer told The Times “This will be a free-for-all for complainants. Anyone aggrieved with his or her lawyer will be able to publicise details, whether the complaint was upheld or not — and the public will think there's no smoke without fire.”

I have some sympathy with this view but surely being open and making disciplinary rulings public when a complaint is upheld would be preferable and more balanced than the public relying on media stories?

Findings of the Scottish Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal are available online.

Source The Times 21 May 2009


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