Former Law Society president David Greene has today been cleared of wrongdoing by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
Following a wait of almost three months since the hearing ended, the tribunal dismissed the private prosecution against Greene brought by his former client David Davies. Misconduct was found not proven on all allegations.
In a statement, Greene said: ‘The tribunal has confirmed as I have said all along this was a complaint wholly without merit. Huge public money has been wasted in this process which has extended over 10 years. I am grateful to the many who have had trust in me and supported me in this process.’
The tribunal’s decision brings an end – barring any appeal to the High Court – to a protracted dispute going back to 2008 when Davies’ company Eco-Power was involved in a legal action against Transport for London. Davies alleged before the tribunal that Greene ‘misled’ the court in relation to a subsequent dispute about some £7,000 in unpaid fees.
Greene, senior partner at London firm Edwin Coe and president of the Law Society from 2020 to 2021, submitted that he had no reason to lie to the court and that his witness statement at the time was a ‘reflection of my belief’. Ben Hubble KC, in closing submissions for Greene, said: ‘There was nothing inaccurate, nothing misleading, about the witness statement.’
In 2012, District Judge Stewart ruled that Davies personally owed Edwin Coe £7,218.74 and, in 2016, the same judge rejected Davies’ application to set aside the earlier judgment based on the allegation that Greene misled the court.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority declined to adopt Davies’ complaint, but he pressed on with a lay application to the SDT. The tribunal ordered in 2019 that proceedings against Greene be dismissed, but this decision was overturned by the High Court, prompting the case to return to the tribunal.
Greene stepped aside early as Law Society president to prevent the proceedings becoming a ‘distraction’ and argued that the case against him was ‘an abusive collateral attack’ on the 2016 ruling that he did not give misleading evidence.
Today’s tribunal decision was followed by a consideration of costs. Hubble told the SDT that Greene ‘wished to draw a line in the sand’ and was content for no order on costs to be made.
Elaine Banton, for Davies, applied for Greene to pay the costs of the 2019 hearing, saying the application was found by the court to be in the public interest. The tribunal retired to make a decision.
Today’s hearing was a continuation of the three-day hearing started in September but not finished in the allocated time as submissions overran. The tribunal fixed an extra day’s hearing on the next available date when all parties and representatives were able to attend.