Inner House reaffirms the respect to be afforded to specialist discipline tribunals
1 May 2013
In two recent cases, the Inner House has underlined the importance of the expertise of specialist discipline tribunals. In A v Law Society of Scotland,  CSIH 30, an Extra Division declined to interfere with the ruling of the SSDT that it amounted to Inadequate Professional Services for a solicitor to indicate to a client that he should require to pay the fee levied by a law accountant for making up the client’s account, on the basis that this was normal practice. In the same case, while it was accepted that the SSDT had arrived prematurely at a decision on IPS on other grounds, the Court expressed the view that the SSDT, and indeed the Law Society, have power to remit a solicitor’s account for taxation where there is a dispute as to the client’s liability in fees.
In Black v General Dental Council  CSIH 39, the same Extra Division ruled that the GDC had not erred in ordering the erasure of Dr Black’s name from the register, after he practised in dentistry for decades without holding professional indemnity insurance. The Division again noted the advantage held by a specialist tribunal, and moreover reaffirmed the principle that, in questions of professional discipline, “the reputation of the profession is more important than the fortunes of any individual member. Membership of a profession brings many benefits, but that is a part of the price."
In both cases, the responding disciplinary bodies (the Law Society and the General Dental Council) were represented by Roddy Dunlop QC of Axiom Advocates.”
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