Superior Court Rules

Blackhall's Court Rules and Forms of Ireland are now updated to 1 August 2022

ORDER 53C

PROFESSIONAL DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS CONCERNING SOLICITORS (SOLICITORS ACTS 1954 TO 2015, AS AMENDED BY LEGAL SERVICES REGULATION ACT 2015)
PROFESSIONAL DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS CONCERNING TRAINEE SOLICITORS (SOLICITORS ACTS 1954 TO 2015, AS AMENDED BY LEGAL SERVICES REGULATION ACT 2015)

I. Application and Definitions

1.(1) This Order applies only to:

(i) proceedings relating to the conduct of a solicitor arising under the Solicitors Acts 1954 to 2015 commenced on or after the date of entry into operation of Part 6 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 (but not including proceedings arising from an application under section 7 of the Act of 1960 made by the Law Society after such date), and

(ii) proceedings relating to the conduct of a trainee solicitor, arising under the Solicitors Acts 1954 to 2015, commenced on or after the date of entry into operation of section 208 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015.

Order 53B applies to:

(i) proceedings relating to the conduct of a solicitor, arising under the Solicitors Acts 1954 to 2011, arising from an application under section 7 of the Act of 1960 made by a person (other than the Law Society) before the date of entry into operation of Part 6 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 or from such application made by the Law Society before or after such date, and

(ii) proceedings relating to the conduct of a trainee solicitor, arising under the Solicitors Acts 1954 to 2015, commenced on or after the date of entry into operation of section 208 of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015.

Order 53D applies to proceedings relating to the conduct of a legal practitioner under the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015.

(2) In this Order:

“Act of 1954” means the Solicitors Act 1954 [No 36 of 1954];

“Act of 1960” means the Solicitors (Amendment) Act 1960 [No 37 of 1960];

“Act of 1994” means the Solicitors (Amendment) Act 1994 [No 27 of 1994];

“Act of 2002” means the Solicitors (Amendment) Act 2002 [No 19 of 2002];

“Act of 2015” means the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 [No 65 of 2015];

“Authority” means the Legal Services Regulatory Authority;

“Court” means the High Court;

“Law Society” means the Law Society of Ireland;

“legal practitioner” has the same meaning as in section 2 of the Act 0f 2015;

“Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal” means the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal established by section 74 of the Act of 2015;

“President” means the President of the High Court, provided that where:

(i) the function or power in question under the Solicitors Acts stands delegated under section 6 (as amended by section 5 of and the First Schedule to the Act of 1960 and as varied by section 25 of the Act of 1960) of the Act of 1954, or under section 13 of the Act of 1960 to an ordinary judge of the High Court, or

(ii) the jurisdiction in question under section 84, section 85, section 115 or, as the case may be, section 128 of the Act of 2015 is for the time being directed by the President of the High Court in accordance with section 86, section 115(5) or, as the case may be, section 128(6) of the Act of 2015, to be exercised by an ordinary judge of the High Court assigned in that behalf by the President of the High Court, a reference to the President shall be construed as a reference to such judge;

“Registrar of Solicitors” means the registrar of solicitors or his or her deputy appointed under section 8 of the Act of 1954;

“Solicitors Acts” means the Solicitors Acts 1954 to 2015;

“respondent legal practitioner” means a legal practitioner:

(i) who is the subject matter of a recommendation to the Court by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal pursuant to section 82(2) of the Act of 2015, or

(ii) who has appealed to the Court under section 83(2)(a) or section 83(3) of the Act of 2015, or

(iii) in respect of whom there is an appeal or application by the Authority or the Law Society under section 83(1) or section 83(2)(b) of the Act of 2015;

“respondent trainee solicitor” means a trainee solicitor:

(i) who is the subject matter of a report to the Court by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal pursuant to section 19 of the Act of 2002 [(as amended by section 208 of the Act of 2015)], or

(ii) who has appealed to the Court under section 19 of the Act of 2002 [(as so amended)], or

(iii) in respect of whom there is an appeal or application by the Law Society under section 19 of the Act of 2002 [(as so amended)];

“roll of solicitors” means the roll of solicitors maintained by the Registrar of Solicitors under section 9 (as substituted by section 65 of the Act of 1994) of the Act of 1954;

“solicitor concerned” means a solicitor who is the subject matter of an appeal or application to the Court pursuant to the Solicitors Acts, other than a respondent legal practitioner;

“trainee solicitor” means a person seeking to be admitted as a solicitor who by indentures of apprenticeship with a training solicitor is provided with training pursuant to such indentures and who is referred to in the Solicitors Acts as an apprentice, who is the subject matter of an appeal or application to the Court pursuant to the Solicitors Acts, other than a respondent trainee solicitor;

“training solicitor” means a practising solicitor to whom a respondent trainee solicitor or a trainee solicitor is or has been bound by indentures of apprenticeship;

“Tribunal Registrar” means the person appointed by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal from time to time to act as registrar to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, or the person for the time being performing such functions in relation to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal in accordance with any regulations made by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.

(3) Other words and phrases in this Order shall, where applicable, have the meanings assigned to them in the Act of 2015 or, as the case may be, in the Solicitors Acts.

[SI 196/21]

2.(1) Service of any document upon the Authority under this Order may be effected by serving it on the Secretary to the Authority or by sending it by prepaid registered post addressed to the Secretary to the Authority at the Authority’s principal office.

(2) Service of any document upon the Law Society under this Order may be effected by serving it on the Registrar of Solicitors or by sending it by prepaid registered post addressed to the said Registrar: “The Registrar of Solicitors, Law Society of Ireland, George’s Court, George’s Lane, Dublin 7, D07 E98Y”.

(3) Service of any document upon any other person under this Order may be effected in the manner provided in section 30 of the Act of 1960.

[SI 196/21]

3.(1) An attested copy of every order made by the Court under the Solicitors Acts shall (as soon as practicable after receipt thereof by the Law Society) be provided by the Law Society to the Registrar of Solicitors.

(2) An attested copy of every order made by the Court under the Act of 2015 shall, insofar as any such order relates to the functions of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal under the Act of 2015, (as soon as practicable after receipt thereof by the Authority):

(a) where the Authority is party to the proceedings before the Court, be provided by the Authority to the Tribunal Registrar;

(b) in any other case, be provided by the Court registrar to the Tribunal Registrar.

[SI 196/21]

II. Report of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal under section 19 of the Act of 2002

4.(1) Where the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal have made a finding or findings that there has been misconduct on the part of a respondent trainee solicitor, their report under section 19(3)(d) of the Act of 2002 shall (whether or not the respondent trainee solicitor is appealing to the Court against such finding or findings of misconduct on his or her part) be formally brought before the President by the Law Society by being filed in the Central Office together with a notice of motion seeking such order under section 19 of the Act of 2002 as may be deemed appropriate and reasonable having regard to the opinion of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal as to the fitness or otherwise of the respondent trainee solicitor to be admitted as a solicitor and the recommendations of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal as to the sanction which in their opinion should be imposed.

(2) The motion shall be supported by an affidavit averring to the relevant facts or alleged facts and exhibiting true copies of all documents delivered to and produced before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal including but not necessarily limited to true copies of such documents as may be listed as having been so produced in the report of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal. The motion shall be served on the respondent trainee solicitor and on the training solicitor concerned and on the Authority.

[SI 196/21]

5.(1) Where the respondent trainee solicitor is appealing to the Court against such finding or findings of misconduct on his or her part, the President shall not thereupon enter upon a hearing of the motion of the Tribunal Registrar but shall first direct that the appeal shall proceed as a full rehearing of the evidence laid before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, unless a less than full rehearing is contended for by the respondent trainee solicitor and concurred in by the Law Society and the Authority and unless agreed to by the President.

(2) Where an appeal before the President proceeds as provided for in sub-rule (1), the President shall thereafter proceed to deal with the motion of the Law Society having regard to the outcome of such appeal.

(3) Upon the hearing of the motion of the Law Society or the hearing of the appeal of the respondent trainee solicitor, as the case may be, the President may require that any notice, affidavit, or other document not then before the Court that was delivered to and produced in evidence before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal or a transcript or other record of any oral evidence given before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal be made available by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal to the Court in such manner as the President may direct.

(4) Subject as provided in sub-rule (1), the President may remit the matter to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal to take further evidence for submission to the Court and to make a supplementary report thereon to the Court.

(5) The President may, following the hearing of an appeal by the respondent trainee solicitor or the motion of the Law Society, as the case may be, and subject to the provisions of the Solicitors Acts, give any decision or make any order as the President thinks fit.

(6) An attested copy of every order made by the President under this rule shall be served by or on behalf of the Authority on the respondent trainee solicitor and on the training solicitor concerned.

[SI 196/21]

III. Appeals to the High Court under section 19 of the Act of 2002

6.(1) Every appeal to the Court by a respondent trainee solicitor or by the Law Society from a finding of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal under section 19(4)(a) or (b) of the Act of 2002 shall be brought by the appellant within the period prescribed by section 19(4)(a) or, as the case may be, section 19(4)(b) of the Act of 2002 and by originating notice of motion of appeal returnable to the President and shall be entitled in the matter of the respondent trainee solicitor and in the matter of the Solicitors Acts.

(2) The notice of motion shall state the finding or (if more than one) each finding of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal in respect of which the appeal is brought, the grounds of the appeal and the order sought by the appellant on such appeal.

(3) The motion shall be supported by an affidavit or affidavits sworn by or on behalf of the appellant averring to the relevant facts or alleged facts and exhibiting true copies of all documents delivered to and produced before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal including but not necessarily limited to true copies of such documents as may be listed as having been so produced in the report of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.

(4) The notice of motion shall be served by or on behalf of the appellant on the Tribunal Registrar and on the Law Society or on the respondent trainee solicitor, as the case may be, and on the training solicitor concerned.

(5) The appeal shall be entered by or on behalf of the appellant by filing a copy of the notice of motion, together with any affidavit intended to be used in support thereof, in the Central Office, within the time prescribed by section 19(4) of the Act of 2002.

(6) A copy of the notice of motion (and copies of any affidavit or affidavits and any exhibits thereto) shall be served by or on behalf of the appellant:

(i) on the Authority and on the Law Society, or as the case may be,

(ii) on the respondent trainee solicitor, and on the training solicitor concerned not later than seven days after the filing of the appeal.

(7) The President shall have power, upon the hearing of any such appeal, to add other parties to the motion before the Court where it appears just so to do.

(8) Where the respondent trainee solicitor is appealing to the Court against a finding or findings of misconduct on his or her part, the President shall direct that such appeal shall proceed as a full rehearing of the evidence laid before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, unless a less than full rehearing is contended for by the respondent trainee solicitor and concurred in by the Law Society and the Authority and unless agreed to by the President.

(9) Upon the hearing of the appeal of the respondent trainee solicitor, the President may require that any notice, affidavit, or other document not then before the Court that was delivered to and produced in evidence before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal or a transcript or other record of any oral evidence given before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal be made available by the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal to the Court in such manner as the President may direct.

(10) Subject as provided in sub-rule (8), the President may remit the matter to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal to take further evidence for submission to the Court and to make a supplementary report thereon to the Court.

(11) The President may, following the hearing of such appeal and subject to the provisions of the Solicitors Acts, give any decision or make any order as the President thinks fit.

(12) An attested copy of every order made by the President under this rule shall be served by or on behalf of the Tribunal Registrar on the Law Society and on the respondent trainee solicitor and on the training solicitor concerned.

[SI 196/21]

IV. Applications under section 20 (as substituted by section 28 of the Act of 1994) of the Act of 1960

7.(1) Every application by the Law Society or the Authority (by virtue of section 94 of the Act of 2015) to the Court under section 20 (as substituted by section 28 of the Act of 1994) of the Act of 1960 shall be heard by the President and shall be brought by motion supported by affidavit (as hereinafter in this rule provided).

(2) The application may be made ex parte in the first instance, or may be made by notice of motion returnable to the President, grounded on an affidavit of the Registrar of Solicitors or other duly authorised officer of the Law Society or, as the case may be, by a duly authorised officer of the Authority, entitled in the matter of the solicitor concerned to whose bank account or accounts or to the bank account or accounts of whose firm the application relates and in the matter of the Solicitors Acts.

(3) Any order of the Court directing that no bank shall, without leave of the Court, make any payment out of a bank account in the name of the solicitor concerned or of his or her firm shall be served on the bank or banks concerned in such manner (if any) as shall be specified in the order.

(4) Any order of the Court directing that a specified bank shall not, without leave of the Court, make any payment out of a bank account in the name of the solicitor concerned or of his or her firm shall be served on such specified bank concerned in such manner (if any) as shall be specified in the order.

(5) Any order made as aforesaid shall be served upon the solicitor concerned or the firm of such solicitor the bank account or accounts of whom or of which is or are affected thereby within such time as may be specified in the order or within such extended time as may be fixed by any subsequent order unless the President shall dispense with such service.

(6) The solicitor concerned or his or her firm whose bank account or accounts is or are affected by any such order as aforesaid or any bank on which any such order has been served may at any time apply by notice of motion returnable to the President to discharge, set aside or vary such order, which motion shall be served on the Registrar of Solicitors or, as the case may be, the Authority, and the President may, on the hearing of such motion, discharge, set aside or vary such order upon such terms as the President thinks fit or may dismiss such application.

(7) An application by or on behalf of the solicitor concerned or his or her firm for leave to make any payment out of a bank account affected by any such order as aforesaid may be made at any time by notice of motion returnable to the President, which motion shall be served on the Registrar of Solicitors or, as the case may be, the Authority, and the President may, on the hearing of such motion, grant or refuse such leave as the President thinks fit.

(8) The Law Society or the Authority or any other interested party may at any time apply by notice of motion returnable to the President to discharge, set aside or vary any such order as aforesaid in this rule, which motion shall be served on the solicitor concerned and on any other person affected thereby (unless the President shall dispense with such notice), and the President may, on the hearing of such motion, grant or refuse such application as the President thinks fit.

[SI 196/21]

V. Applications under section 18 of the Act of 2002

8.(1) Every application by the Law Society or the Authority (by virtue of section 94 of the Act of 2015) to the Court under section 18 of the Act of 2002 to prohibit a solicitor or (in the case of the Law Society) another person from contravening a provision of the Solicitors Acts or regulations made thereunder shall be heard by the President and shall be brought by motion supported by affidavit (as hereinafter in this rule provided).

(2) The application may be made ex parte in the first instance, or may be made by notice of motion returnable to the President, grounded on an affidavit of the Registrar of Solicitors or another duly authorised officer of the Law Society or, as the case may be, by a duly authorised officer of the Authority, entitled in the matter of the solicitor concerned or other person concerned, as the case may be.

(3) The President may, following the hearing of such application and subject to the provisions of the Solicitors Acts, give any decision or make any order as the President thinks fit.

(4) Any order of the Court prohibiting the solicitor concerned or other person concerned, as the case may be, from contravening a provision of the Solicitors Acts or regulations made thereunder shall be served on the solicitor concerned or other person concerned, and (if applicable) on any other person affected thereby, in such manner (if any) as shall be specified in the order.

(5) The solicitor concerned or other person concerned who is affected by any such order may at any time apply by notice of motion returnable to the President to discharge, set aside or vary such order, which motion shall be served on the Law Society or, as the case may be, the Authority, and the President may, on the hearing of such motion, discharge, set aside or vary such order upon such terms as the President thinks fit or may dismiss such application.

(6) The Law Society or, as the case may be, the Authority, may at any time apply by notice of motion returnable to the President, to discharge, set aside or vary any such order as aforesaid in this rule, which motion shall be served on the solicitor concerned or other person concerned and (if applicable) on any other person affected thereby (unless the President shall dispense with such notice) and the President may, on the hearing of such motion, grant or refuse such application as the President thinks fit.

[SI 196/21]

VI. Appeals or applications to the High Court under other provisions of the Solicitors Acts

9.(1) This rule shall apply to any appeal or application to the Court made by the Law Society or by the Authority (by virtue of section 94 of the Act of 2015); by the solicitor concerned; by the trainee solicitor concerned; by the training solicitor concerned or by any other person entitled and having legal standing under the Solicitors Acts to do so, as the case may be, under the following provisions of the Solicitors Acts and regulations thereunder:

Under the Act of 1954 (as amended)

(i) section 24(2)(b) (as substituted by section 40 of the Act of 1994) of the Act of 1954 [Requirements for admission as solicitor];

(ii) section 27(4) (as substituted by section 43 of the Act of 1994) of the Act of 1954 [Evidence of education, employment and character];

(iii) section 33(3) (as substituted by section 46 of the Act of 1994) of the Act of 1954 [General power to discharge indentures];

(iv) section 45 of the Act of 1954 [Appeals under Part IV];

(v) section 47(6) (as substituted by section 54 of the Act of 1994) of the Act of 1954 [Application for practising certificate];

(vi) section 49(3) (as substituted by section 61 of the Act of 1994 and amended by section 2 of the Act of 2002) of the Act of 1954 [Direction to grant or refuse practising certificate];

(vii) section 51(2) of the Act of 1954 [Termination of suspension of practising certificate];

(viii) section 60(3) and (4) (as substituted by section 20 of the Act of 1994) of the Act of 1954 [Restriction on employment of person struck off roll of solicitors or suspended];

(ix) section 61(2), (3) and (4) (as substituted by section 31 of the Act of 1994) of the Act of 1954 [Intervention in practice of sole practitioner in cases of death, incapacity, bankruptcy or abandonment];

(x) section 63(2) (as substituted by section 21 of the Act of 1994) of the Act of 1954 [Disclosure of having been struck off roll of solicitors, etc];

(xi) section 66(12) (as substituted by section 76 of the Act of 1994 and as amended by section 3 of the Act of 2002) of the Act of 1954 [Regulations for accounts];

Under the Act of 1960 (as amended)

(xii) section 9(2)(b) of the Act of 1960 [Removal at his or her own request of name of solicitor from the roll of solicitors];

(xiii) section 10(2) (as amended by section 19 of the Act of 1994) of the Act of 1960 [Restoration of name of solicitor to the roll of solicitors];

(xiv) section 15(1E) (as substituted by section 25 of the Act of 1994 and as amended by section 11 of the Act of 2002) of the Act of 1960 [Powers of Disciplinary Tribunal as to taking evidence, etc];

(xv) section 19(2)(b) and (4) (as substituted by section 27 of the Act of 1994) of the Act of 1960 [Power of Law Society to deal with documents of certain solicitors];

Under the Act of 1994 (as amended)

(xvi) section 10A (as inserted by section 13 of the Act of 2002) of the Act of 1994 [Failure to respond to correspondence or attend meeting];

(xvii) section 11(1), (3) and (4) of the Act of 1994 [Appeals to the High Court against determinations, directions or requirements of the Law Society];

(xviii) section 14(3) (as amended by section 15 of the Act of 2002) of the Act of 1994 [Power to inspect documents];

(xix) section 15(10) of the Act of 1994 [Investigation of complaints];

(xx) section 32(3), (4), (6) and (8) of the Act of 1994 [Intervention in practice of solicitor who has died];

(xxi) section 33(1), (2), (5) and (6) of the Act of 1994 [Sale of solicitor’s practice in certain circumstances];

(xxii) section 34(3) of the Act of 1994 [Ancillary provisions in relation to certain applications or orders];

(xxiii) section 37(4) of the Act of 1994 [Restriction following admission as solicitor on practising as a sole practitioner];

(xxiv) section 58(1) of the Act of 1994 [Suspension of practising certificates];

(xxv) section 59(4) of the Act of 1994 [Imposition of conditions while practising certificates are in force];

Under the Solicitors Accounts Regulations 2001

(xxvi) regulation 28(3) of the Solicitors Accounts Regulations 2001 (SI No 421 of 2001) [Investigation by authorised person].

(2) Every appeal or application to the High Court under the provisions of the Solicitors Acts and regulations set forth in sub-rule (1) by:

(i) the Law Society, or

(ii) the Authority, or

(iii) the solicitor concerned, or

(iv) the trainee solicitor concerned, or

(v) the training solicitor concerned, or

(vi) any other person entitled and having legal standing under the Solicitors Acts to do so,

as the case may be, shall be brought by originating notice of motion returnable before the President and shall be entitled in the matter of the solicitor concerned or the trainee solicitor concerned or the training solicitor concerned or any other person concerned, as the case may be, and in the matter of the Solicitors Acts.

(3) The notice of motion shall state the grounds of the appeal or application and the order sought by the appellant or applicant on such appeal or application.

(4) The appeal or application shall be issued by or on behalf of the appellant or applicant by filing a copy of the notice of motion, together with any affidavit intended to be used in support thereof, in the Central Office, within the time prescribed by the applicable provision or provisions of the Acts or, if no time is so prescribed, within a period of 21 days beginning on the date when the particular circumstances giving rise to the appeal or application came or should, with reasonable care in his or her own interest, have come to the notice of the appellant or applicant.

(5) A copy of the notice of motion (and copies of any affidavit or affidavits and any exhibits thereto) shall be served by or on behalf of the appellant or applicant:

(i) on the Registrar of Solicitors or, where the appeal or application arises from or in relation to the exercise by the Authority under section 94 of the Act of 2015 of a power conferred on the Law Society by the Solicitors Acts, on the Authority;

(ii) on the solicitor concerned;

(iii) on the trainee solicitor concerned;

(iv) on the training solicitor concerned, and

(v) on any other person concerned, as the case may be,

within the time prescribed by the applicable provision or provisions of the Solicitors Acts or, if no time is so prescribed, not later than seven days after the filing of the application or appeal concerned.

(6) The President shall have power, upon the hearing of any such appeal or application, to add other parties to the motion before the Court where it appears just so to do.

(7) The evidence upon the hearing of any such appeal or application shall be by affidavit, except insofar as the President may direct oral evidence to be given.

(8) The President may, following the hearing of such appeal or application and subject to the provisions of the Solicitors Acts, give any decision or make any order as the President thinks fit.

(9) An attested copy of every order made by the President under this rule shall be served by or on behalf of the appellant or applicant on each person served with the motion.

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