New guidelines for Discipline Committee
The Benchers have adopted new guidelines to assist the Discipline Committee in making appropriate and consistent decisions on professional conduct matters that come before it. The guidelines are the culmination of approximately 18 months of research and analysis by the Discipline Guidelines Task Force.
In the course of its work, the task force considered a rigid classification system that would link types of misconduct to specific disciplinary responses. The task force concluded, however, that the guidelines offer a principle-based approach, taking account relevant circumstances while evaluating each case on its own merits.
When speaking at the Benchers meeting, Herman Van Ommen, chair of the task force, noted in particular the following principles:
- the application of progressive discipline, where appropriate;
- the concept of public interest is paramount;
- the adoption of a citation threshold, taking into account evidence and proof.
It is expected that the guidelines will be refined and improved, after experience and feedback. The new guidelines are contained in the task force report, which is available on the Law Society website (go to Publications and Resources > Committee and Task Force Reports > Regulation and Discipline).