The hostile costs environment is unfair to solicitors facing regulatory investigation and SDT proceedings, says Susanna Heley

The hostile costs regime is a particularly striking feature of proceedings in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).

This has developed from the general view that in the world of regulation we should follow the principles that the polluter pays; and the regulator should not be deterred from pursuing borderline cases for fear of an adverse costs order.

The costs protection afforded to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) as prosecutor in the SDT can be difficult to overcome. Public policy demands that a case brought by the SRA should have been improperly brought or a shambles from start to finish before an adverse costs order against it can be justified.

In practice, this means there is a presumption that a sol...

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