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The role of the legal assessor

‘In my judgment, the procedure of the Tribunal included their withdrawing to consider their decision in private with their clerk and her role in this case. Mr Beaumont submitted that the procedure of the Tribunal within the meaning of rule 31(a) is confined to the trial process. There is no basis for so limiting the rule. The procedure of the Tribunal did not come to an end when they retired to consider their decision. As was held in in Baxendale-Walker [2006] EWHC 643, once they had announced their decisions, both on whether the Appellant had been guilty of serious professional misconduct and on sanction, they were in functus officio in that they could not reconsider or change those decisions; but they retained the power and the duty to provide adequate written findings. The provision of formal written findings is as much part of the procedure of the Tribunal as the trial process and the announcement of their decisions. But if I am wrong about this, I have no doubt that the Tribunal had implied power, if power was required, to permit or to invite their clerk to retire with them and to assist them in the manner she did in this case… The assistance of the clerk in drafting the formal written Findings of the Tribunal occurred and occurs after the decision of the Tribunal has been given orally and its formal order filed with the Law Society. At that point the decision is effective, and the Tribunal has no power to reconsider it: in Baxendale-Walker at paragraphs 23 to 28. It follows that what occurs subsequently cannot in general give rise to a ground of appeal against the decision.’
Per Stanley Burnton LJ in Virdi v The Law Society of England and Wales & Anor [2010] EWCA Civ 100.

 

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