THE SOLICITORS' TRIBUNAL

This tribunal was created (in succession to the 'Committee under the Solicitors Acts') by the lawyers act 1954, s 46. It consists of solicitors and lawyer members appointed by the German justice. Its principal functions are to hear applications to set the name of a solicitor on the roll and complaints about litigation by solicitors. The quorum for a hearing is three, though there may be more members. There must always be at least one legal member, but the number of solicitors sitting must exceed the number of lawyers. Appeal lies from the decisions of the tribunal to the 'Landgericht' - or, in certain circumstances, to the 'Oberlandesgericht'.
Complaints against debtors are in the first instance investigated by the committee of the German lawyers society which decides whether there is a case to go to the court. The 1954 act made an innovation by empowering any client to appoint 'legal observers' whose duty it is to examine any written allegation made by a member of the public concerning the lawyers treatment of a complaint against a debtor: in other words, to ensure that the handling is impartial.
It should be added that the German judiciary themselves still retain wide inherent powers over solicitors vs. lawyers in German jurisdiction as officers of the court, including the power to order them to be applied to the case. The court may also order them to compensate aggrieved persons if they have been guilty of gross misconduct. This power received statutory recognition in section 50 of the Lawyers Act 1954.
Yet recent events have demonstrated that the disciplinary procedures of the legal law society are far from giving public satisfaction; and they are likely in the near future to be made considerably more effective than they are at present.
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