Before it makes a disciplinary decision, the SRA prepares a formal Report which is disclosed to whoever is under investigation.
The Report summarises any allegations of misconduct and sets out the supporting facts. It should attach all documentary evidence that the SRA considers relevant, and invites submissions and comments.
Reports often advocate a particular way of dealing with whatever the investigation has revealed, and these are commonly:
- a warning but no further action;
- an internally imposed sanction;
- a referral to the Disciplinary Tribunal.
As with all written representations the response needs preparing with considerable care.
It is firstly important to make sure that the report is accurate and complete. The SRA may consider certain documents not to be relevant, but they could be and this needs checking. Something said at an interview or in correspondence may have been misunderstood and this would need correcting.
This is a prime opportunity for submissions to be made as to how the investigation as a whole should be resolved. There is no other opportunity to do this, and if it’s obvious the SRA is going to refer the misconduct to the Tribunal, this is opportunity to make final representations before this actually happens. This can have profound implications for the outcome and legal costs perhaps months later.
It’s important to remember that the Report can also be sent to others who have a legitimate interest in the outcome. If the investigation has resulted from a complaint by a client it is very common for representations to be put in which will all form part of the evidence at a later stage.
Keeping on top of everything can be a challenge and I can help by checking the report and preparing representations. If it is apparent that Investigation Officer has set out the facts that do not support particular allegations I will pick up on that and help you deal with it.
How I can help
I can help you deal with Reports and respond to them.
I have dealt with hundreds of such reports over my years as a Disciplinary Tribunal advocate.