The Tribunal currently has twenty six Members, all appointed by the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland. Tribunal Members are not appointed by or employed by the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal for Northern Ireland.
Solicitor and Lay Members are appointed for a three year term which may be renewed on application. Vacancies are filled following an open and transparent competition. The most recent competition was concluded in August 2015.
There are currently thirteen Solicitor Members and thirteen Lay Members drawn from a wide range of backgrounds to reflect the make up of the profession and, as far as possible, the public. Pursuant to Article 43 (2) of the Solicitors (Northern Ireland) Order 1976 a Solicitor Member is elected as President of the Tribunal. The President is currently Leonard Edgar.
Solicitor Members are independent of the Council of the Law Society of Northern Ireland. Solicitor Members of the Tribunal must be a practising solicitor of not less than ten years’ standing. Lay Members must not be either solicitors or members of the Bar of Northern Ireland.
The Solicitors (Northern Ireland) Order 1976 provides that substantive hearings take place before a Panel of at least three Members of the Tribunal (made up of one Lay Member and two Solicitor Members [one of whom acts as Chairman]). Panels may be made up of more than three Members provided there is a Solicitor Member majority.