Questions over burden of proof in tribunal and SRA powers. Jayne Willetts commented in Legal Futures:
“The outcome of the Leigh Day case is a timely reminder that it is the tribunal that ultimately decides what is and what is not professional misconduct, not the SRA.
The majority of the allegations were based upon breaches of the principles which are general indicators as to conduct – they are not specific rules. There is scope therefore for a divergence of opinion between what is and what is not appropriate conduct.
It is unlikely that the burden of proof played a large part in the tribunal’s decision making. The tribunal was simply not persuaded by the SRA’s view of this case. This decision may also weaken support for the SRA to have increased internal fining powers.”