Report relating to William Renfrew

An appeal was made under s 42ZA of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 by Khizer Khan, Giffnock, Glasgow against the determination by the Council of the Law Society of Scotland in respect of a decision not to uphold a complaint of unsatisfactory professional conduct made by the appellant against William Renfrew, solicitor, W Renfrew & Co Ltd, solicitors, Glasgow (the second respondent).

The appeal was defended by the first respondents. The second respondent did not enter the appeal process and later the Tribunal learned that he had died. The first respondents’ position was that the appeal could not longer proceed. The appellant’s submission was that the appeal should continue. Parties made submissions to the Tribunal at a procedural hearing on 8 July 2020. The Tribunal carefully considered the parties’ submissions and had regard to its powers when dealing with an appeal under ss 42ZA and 53ZB of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980.

Although the appeal would proceed by way of a review of the Professional Conduct Committee’s decision making, at its heart this was a disciplinary case involving an individual solicitor. The solicitor had to have the opportunity to defend himself against the complaint in disciplinary proceedings. The first respondents should be able to call him as a witness if required. It would not be fair to proceed with the appeal without these safeguards in place. Although the Tribunal had the power to award compensation, this power was ancillary to the disciplinary decision. There were no Tribunal rules or legislative provisions which would allow executors to be sisted to the case to allow an order for compensation to be made against them in the place of the second respondent. Therefore, on the first respondents’ motion, the Tribunal dismissed the appeal.

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