Updated 4 January 2018
The SRA is the regulator of solicitors and law firms in England and Wales. It sets, monitors and enforces standards through the regulation of solicitors, firms, other individuals and bodies. It is also a licensing authority for alternative business structures.
SRA staff have delegated powers to make many regulatory decisions in respect of applications and referrals received from consumers including members of the legal profession. Decisions may be made by Managers, Officers, Supervisors and Adjudicators (referred to as "authorised officer") depending on the nature and type of decision that is required.
Currently there is one Chief Adjudicator, three full-time permanent Adjudicators and 14 external Panel Adjudicators. Of our adjudicators five are male, 11 are female and one preferred not to say; 10 are white, four are black and minority ethnic and two preferred not to say. In addition our Executive Directors also act as adjudicators as required.
Director and Chief Adjudicator
Adjudicators make formal regulatory decisions on a wide range of powers contained in legislation, such as the Solicitors Act 1974, Legal Services Act 2007 and the SRA Handbook. These decisions are risk-based and in accordance with published policy and criteria. We seek to demonstrate that we are a fair regulator and that decisions are made on an objective and impartial basis.
Types of decisions made by Adjudicators
There are a wide range of decisions that may be made by a single Adjudicator or by an Adjudication Panel. This includes dealing with:
Applications to determine suitability for student enrolment or admission;
Applications to grant or refuse waivers;
Considering the imposition of conditions on practising certificates;
Applications to consider grants from the compensation fund;
Requests to intervene into firms;
Allegations relating to the conduct of individuals, making findings, imposing sanctions, including fines, for failure to comply with regulatory obligations;
Distribution proposal reports to determine beneficial entitlement to money held on statutory trust, and
Making Orders under sections 41 or 43 of the Solicitors Act 1974
Single Adjudicators make first instance decisions and deal with appeals from decisions originally made by authorised officers.
An Adjudication Panel, usually comprising three Adjudicators, may also make first instance decisions or deal with appeals from decisions made by single Adjudicators.
Adjudicators usually sit as a Panel comprising of three members, one of whom will be the chair. There is at least one lay and one legal member on a Panel. Technical support and advice may be provided by an Adjudication Panel Adviser.
Director and Chief Adjudicator
Nabila is a solicitor and has an LLB Business Law degree. Before joining the SRA, she was Council Solicitor at the General teaching Council for England. From 2005-2008, Nabila was Principal Solicitor and a Head of Service in the Legal Department of Birmingham City Council. She was a member of the Children in Safeguarding Proceedings subcommittee of the Family Justice Council and contributed to two Law Society publications relating to public law proceedings.
Nabila also has experience of the regulation of healthcare scientists, architects and the press. She is a mentor for Mosaic, a Princes Trust charity supporting children and young adults to achieve their potential.
Annmaria trained in the city of London as a solicitor and worked as a commercial and residential property solicitor for a number of years. Annmaria has worked at the SRA since 2008. She has worked in a number of departments including Ethics, Authorisation and Projects.
Matthew studied Law at Christ's College, Cambridge and holds a BA (Hons) and MA (Cantab) in Law. Matthew trained with global law firm DLA Piper UK LLP and qualified as a solicitor in 2010. He practised as a construction and engineering solicitor and specialised in both contentious and non-contentious matters. This included advising on and drafting a variety of industry standard and bespoke construction and engineering building contracts for national and international projects, professional appointments and ancillary funding and security documents. Matthew also has experience of advising both public and private sector clients on an array of national and international building and engineering disputes including undertaking a number of construction adjudications for national clients. In 2012 Matthew moved to the international law firm, Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP, where he continued to practise as a construction and engineering solicitor before joining the SRA as a full time Adjudicator in December 2014.
Elaine qualified as a solicitor in 1983 and entered private practice with a firm in Cheltenham. She specialised in property law including commercial leasehold transactions, landlord and tenant law and residential conveyancing. She started a second career as a locum solicitor with responsibility for running the caseloads and managing the practices of several sole practitioners, as well as offering short and long term cover for multi-partner firms. She worked with practices in Worcestershire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. She combined her private practice with a period of working as a lecturer in law at Worcester College of Technology. Elaine has served as a primary school governor acting as deputy chair. Elaine joined the SRA as an Ethics Adviser in 2008 where she advised the profession and other stakeholders on the application of the Code of Conduct and other conduct rules. She joined the Adjudication team from her role as a technical adviser in the Authorisation Directorate where she supported case officers in the correct application and understanding of the regulatory framework.
Legal Panel Adjudicators
Christine qualified as a solicitor in 2000. She is the Associate Director for Regulation Development and Impact at the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). Her responsibilities include leading the Regulatory Implementation team who develop, maintain and evaluate Ofqual's regulatory framework. Christine's private sector legal experience was gained over a period of seven years in medium sized law firms. She has experience of insurance litigation matters and following admission, specialised in planning and environmental law. From 2008 to 2015, Christine was the statutory Monitoring Officer and Assistant Director of Legal & Democratic Services at Coventry City Council. In 2015, Christine was appointed as a legal chair of the Investigating Committee at the General Chiropractic Council. Christine has been an SRA adjudicator since September 2013 and chaired adjudication panels. She has made first instance and appeal decisions as a panel member and also as a single adjudicator.
Dominic Spenser Underhill
Dominic is a solicitor and partner in the firm Spenser Underhill Newmark LLP, based in London. He qualified in 1989 and has practised law in the City of London for most of his career. He specialises in dispute resolution and professional disciplinary law. Dominic sits regularly as an arbitrator on international arbitration tribunals and acts as a legal assessor on professional disciplinary tribunals. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is a Senior Visiting Lecturer at the School of International Arbitration, Queen Mary, University of London. Dominic has been an SRA adjudicator since 2009 and also chairs adjudication panels. He has made first instance and appeal decisions as a panel member and also as a single adjudicator.
After graduating from Leeds University with a degree in French, Jayne studied law and qualified as a solicitor in 1984. Jayne spent three years as an assistant solicitor in private practice firms in Norfolk before relocating to the West Midlands to join the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Jayne had a long career at the CPS and was involved in many criminal justice service initiatives at both regional and local level. During this time, Jayne gained a qualification in management and her final role in the CPS was as manager of the regional Complex Casework Unit. In this unit Jayne specialised in work related fatalities and cases involving serious professional misconduct. Jayne was appointed to the SRA adjudication panel in November 2015. Jayne now works in a variety of roles in the field of regulation: as an independent member of the Parole Board, a Legal Assessor for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, a Deputy Traffic Commissioner, Chair and panel member for police misconduct proceedings and is a member of the General Pharmaceutical Council.
Dionne entered private practice in the field of mental health law and attained membership to the Law Society Mental Health Accreditation Scheme prior to her qualification as a solicitor. She specialised in representing clients in mental health and social welfare law and has a Masters degree in law. In 2006, Dionne was appointed a First-Tier Tribunal Judge in the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber as well as a Magistrate in the adult criminal courts, with this jurisdiction later being extended to include the family courts. Dionne was an Independent Monitor for the Home Office Vetting & Barring Scheme, Her responsibility also extended to scrutinising and evaluating the performance of police forces across the country and reporting annually to the Home Secretary.In private practice, Dionne earned equity partnership in one of the largest providers of mental health law in the country. She became a partner and director in in a large multi-national company where she was the Director of Regulation, People and Standards. Dionne was also the company’s Compliance Officer for Legal Practice, the Senior Responsible Officer, the Data Protection Officer, the Diversity and Inclusion Lead and Training Principal. Dionne has also been assigned to sit on Social Security appeals within the Social Entitlement Chamber as well as being appointed to sit on cases in the Court of Protection.
Dionne joined the SRA adjudication panel on 1 November 2018.
Jan is a solicitor and has practised criminal law, prosecution and defence, and regulatory law across the Midland and the South Eastern Circuit. Jan held senior positions within the Crown Prosecution Service before moving to the Channel Islands.She was appointed as legal adviser to the Attorney General of Jersey in matters of financial crime, and qualified in that jurisdiction and was admitted to the Jersey Bar. She was also appointed as an Associate Lecturer at the Institute of Law in Jersey and is an experienced lecturer on the international stage in areas of financial crime, money laundering, and human rights.
Jan joined the SRA adjudication panel on November 2018.
Claire is a solicitor in the public sector. She spent a number of years working in local authority legal services as well as the government legal service before moving to the Crown Prosecution Service. Claire has extensive experience in both the regulatory and enforcement sector, having played a key role in delivering various initiatives across the criminal justice sector. More recently Claire has been a specialist prosecutor and head of a complex case work unit managing high profile cases, with a focus on economic crime.
Claire joined the SRA adjudication panel on 1 November 2018.
Lay Panel Adjudicators
Andrew is an ombudsman for the Financial Ombudsman Service, dealing with banking and consumer credit complaints. He is also employed by the Home Office to assist with a high level inquiry. Previously Andrew was an associate director of a leading national investment company where he carried out the roles of stockbroker, analyst and project manager directing large-scale regulatory changes. From 2009 until 2014, he was Head of Finance and Policy for a leading environmental social enterprise and charity in a role encompassing financial management, governance and policy development. Andrew has been an SRA adjudicator since September 2013.
Margaret Sentamu, BA, MA, CIPD Affiliate
Margaret Sentamu is an independent diversity and leadership management consultant. Her background is in recruitment and selection in the private, public and third sectors. She currently has a portfolio which includes regulating the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) member accountants, as a lay member on the Investigations Committee. She is a non-executive director of the Leeds & Yorkshire NHS Foundation Trust, providing services for people with mental health and learning disabilities. She is also a trustee and patron of a number of charities mainly to do with education, health and poverty in the Global South and the UK. She was a non-executive director of Traidcraft Plc. Margaret has been an SRA adjudicator since 2009 and chairs adjudication panels.
Alex is a registered architect having studied at the University of Bath, University of Cambridge and Harvard University. He spent 25 years in private practice and more recently was appointed as Professor of Architecture at the University of Bath. Alex was elected to the Architects Registration Board in 2012 and re-elected in 2016. He has played an active role in the regulation of architectural education and has also served as a lay member on the Qualifications Committee of the Bar Standards Board. Alex was appointed as an SRA adjudicator in November 2015.
Richard is a former senior police officer with considerable experience in strategic leadership and change management through a range of operational and organisational roles. Richard is currently a director for the Albert Kennedy Trust, a national charity supporting LGBT 16-25 year olds who are made homeless or who are living in a hostile environment. Richard undertakes regulatory roles for a number of organisations and was appointed to the SRA adjudication panel in November 2015.
Wendy joined the police service as a police cadet in 1978, becoming a regular officer from 1980 and serving in three different forces, namely Nottinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Leicestershire. She achieved the rank of Assistant Chief Constable. Wendy retired in 2010, after 32 years service, and now holds a number of roles for various professional regulatory bodies. She has a Masters degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Loughborough University. Wendy was appointed to the SRA adjudication panel in November 2015.
- Chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Council Fitness to Practise Hearings
- Selection Panel Member - Judicial Appointments Commission
- Lay member of Discipline Hearings - Judicial Conduct Investigations Office
- Chair of Discipline/Appeals/Licensing Hearings - Association of Certified Chartered Accountants
- Chair of Professional Standards Discipline Hearings - Chartered Institute of Legal Executives
Since qualifying as a dental surgeon from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Sally has continued to work in general dental practice, mainly as a practice owner. Alongside this role, she has taught dental undergraduates, was a dentist business manager for a dental corporate and, subsequent to obtaining a Diploma in Forensic Odontology, has provided occasional identification services to the Coroner’s Office. She has a Masters degree in Legal Aspecs of Medical Practice. Sally served on the fitness to practise panel at the General Dental Council from 2007-17, becoming Chair from 2012.
Sally joined the SRA adjudication panel on 1 November 2018.
Karen Townsend is a justice policy specialist and has worked in a variety of high profile policy roles in the Home Office, UK Border Agency and Crown Prosecution Service. Karen is currently the trustee Director of Policy for the Sharan Project, a charity that provides support to vulnerable women, particularly of South Asian origin, who have left home forcefully or voluntarily. She also carries out consultancy work in the justice field, with a special interest in EU policy and practice
Karen joined the SRA adjudication panel on 1 November 2018.
Nigel is a medical scientist. He began his career in the NHS and later moved to King’s College London to pursue research. Nigel is a Fellow of the Institute of Biomedical Scientists. He has published over 100 academic papers; has lectured widely; was a national examiner and has served on research ethics committees. Nigel has served as a registration assessor, fitness to practise panel member and education visitor for his own regulator, the Health and Care Professions Council, and as a lay panel member and lay chair for the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Nigel is currently a lay chair at the General Medical Council’s Medical Practitioner’s Tribunal Service.
Nigel joined the SRA adjudication panel on 1 November 2018.
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