It is "only a matter of time" before the civil standard of proof is introduced in the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for England & Wales, according to the Solicitors Regulation Authority there.

The Solicitors Journal today reported the prediction, by SRA chief executive Paul Philip following a board meeting. He said the tribunal was one of a very small number of professional courts, also including the Police Discipline Appeals Tribunal and the Bar Standards Board, where the higher criminal standard still applied.

Other similar tribunals, including those for the medical professions, now apply the civil standard of proof, and the SRA believes it is "pushing at an open door" in pressing the Government for the necessary legislative change.

The civil standard already applies to the SRA's own regulatory proceedings.

Discipline cases in Scotland remain subject to the criminal standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt.