Hearings under the Disciplinary Tribunal Regulations

Procedures for dealing with complaints referred by the prosecuting body [the Bar Standards Board] to Disciplinary Tribunals are laid down in Part 5, Enforcement Regulations of the Bar Standards Board Handbook.  Disciplinary Tribunals are domestic, non-statutory tribunals.  As such, the proceedings are intended to be relatively informal.  Robes are not worn at hearings and all parties tend to remain seated throughout. Please see our virtual court room .

There are two types of disciplinary tribunal – three-person panels and five-person panels.  The size of panel will depend on how serious the matter is and the panels differ in the sentencing powers they are able to exercise.  Three person panels normally consist of a senior member of the profession (Queen’s Counsel) as Chair, a lay member and a barrister member.  Five person panels consist of a judge as Chair, two barrister members and two lay members.

Pursuant to Enforcement Regulation rE149 of the BSB Handbook:

The proceedings of a five-person panel will not be invalidated on the sole ground that after the Convening Order has been issued (in accordance with rE140), one or more of the members becomes unable to act or is disqualified from acting, provided that:

.1 –

the chairman and at least one lay member and one barrister member are still able to act and are present throughout the substantive hearing; and

.2 –

the number of members present throughout the substantive hearing of the charge is not reduced below three.

The Disciplinary Tribunal process has four stages:

Stage 1 – serving the charges and the bundle of supporting documents

Stage 2 – agreeing and complying with the timetable for the case (“directions phase”)

Stage 3 – agreeing and confirming the date of the Disciplinary Tribunal hearing

Stage 4 – the Disciplinary Tribunal.

The end to end process map below illustrates the stages of the Tribunal Process.

Disciplinary Tribunals Process map