The Divisional Court (May LJ, Silber and Clarke JJ) delivered judgment on 2 December 2009 in the appeal of Beresford, Smith v The Law Society [2009] EWHC 3155 (Admin).The case, which has attracted widespread media interest, involved allegations of serious misconduct by both solicitors when handling thousands of claims by former miners under the world’s largest personal injury compensation scheme.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal upheld 8 allegations of misconduct, found that the Respondents had acted dishonestly and ordered that their names be struck off the roll. The Divisional Court rejected the solicitors’ appeal, finding that the SDT had correctly made “findings of very serious misconduct on a huge scale and in relation to thousands of vulnerable clients in proceedings which were expensively contested in nearly every particular”. Timothy Dutton QC and James McClelland acted for the prosecuting authority, the SRA.