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Lutfur Rahman has failed in his latest bid to avoid justice before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
According to a report in the Law Society Gazette , Rahman failed to appear at the Tribunal hearing scheduled to start today claiming that he was unable to represent himself as he was not ‘experienced in disciplinary matters’ and could not secure funding for representation.
Unsurprisingly it is routine for solicitors to represent themselves at hearings of this type.
Because they are solicitors.
Last minute application
It has also emerged that only on Friday 15th December Rahman filed to have today’s hearing adjourned, presenting the Tribunal with almost no notice.
Additionally Rahman has also asked that if the Tribunal should find the allegations proven, any punishment imposed does not exceed the amount of time he has been suspended from running for office.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SRT) can impose a wide range of sanctions on those who are found to have not lived up to the standards expected as this extract from the SRT sanctions guidance (PDF) makes clear:
“Any solicitor who is shown to have discharged his professional duties with anything less than complete integrity, probity and trustworthiness must expect severe sanctions to be imposed upon him by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.” (Bolton v The Law Society  1 WLR 512)
In the most serious cases errant solicitors can be suspended from the Roll of Solicitors or have their name struck off from the Roll where the Tribunal determines that the seriousness of the misconduct is at the highest level and the protection of the public and/or the protection of the reputation of the legal profession requires it.
Rahman is charged by the SRT with:
– Failing to uphold the rule of law and administration of justice
– Failing to act with integrity
– Failing to behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in him and in the provision of legal services
It is assumed – but not guaranteed – that Rahman will attend the Tribunal hearing tomorrow. We shall see.