Barrister Facing Misconduct Charges For Graduated Fee Claim

I’m not going to comment on this news story in the Telegraph other than to say that: 1 The professional misconduct proceedings appear to be ongoing so we don’t know if the charges will be made out and 2 If true this does not reflect well on the bar and plays into the hands of those with a – shall we say – cynical view of how things work.

11 thoughts on “Barrister Facing Misconduct Charges For Graduated Fee Claim

  1. No, I’m not commenting on this either, particularly as I used to instruct the barrister concerned!

    • Similar situation for me – we have been on opposing sides in the same case in the not too distant past, so not appropriate to comment. However, I did think it was relevant to the subject matter usually covered by the blog. Hence this short post.

  2. Like USA the truth is coming to light.

    If anyone believes this barrister is the only one “on the take” then they are deluded.

    I know solicitors and barristers who were still claiming money from the public purse 3 years after the cases ended. 3 Baristers on £10,000 each retainers.

    I note the herd thinking in the comments.

    As a professional myself, I do not condone this sticking together when a colleague does wrong as it gives the whole profession a bad name in the end- like social workers and Guardians and “experts” in family law proceedings.

    The people are awake now and have a right to know where their tax money is going.

  3. Provincial Solicitor

    Hmm. I shall await the outcome before commenting.

  4. I think Portia may have confused “still claiming money three years after the case ended” with “still waiting to get paid three years after the case ended”

    I don’t know that there are many other professionals that would have anything like the levels of aged debt that there is at the Bar.

    And like others, I wouldn’t be commenting on the likelihood or otherwise of the allegations being true or proved whilst the case is pending.

    • Also slipped me by. It’s really a shame that because of one individual the profession as a whole will be brought into disrepute. It really is not at all representative of the standards that most of us apply to claiming uplifts, although I will say that the criteria in some respects are so vague that different individuals will in perfectly good conscience reach different conclusions on what is within the rules and what is not, particularly with special prep. However, those criteria are being tightened to ensure that there is more consistency. I’m not sure what I think about the penalty – on the one hand not undertaking legal aid work for three months may not seem such a terrible punishment for a practitioner who also has a solid private client base, but frankly I think the potential damage to reputation from the publication of the result is the real penalty.

  5. Provincial Solicitor

    Well, I said that I would hold back until the decision came through. So here goes…

    As you rightly say familoo there is some vagueness in the criteria, but this has only made a fertile ground for those who wish to, shall we say, maximise their claims. It is really a poor excuse. In any event the main allegation, as I understand it, was that research had been claimed in a straightforward placement application. That is simply wrong. I wouldn’t have the temerity to try it, and I am sure you wouldn’t. If a family law specialist has to spend ten hours researching placement applications then one must question his or her breadth of knowledge.

    Am I alone in hoping that the LSC now carefully comb their records to see whether there has been any additional ‘maximisation’ that may not be justified, and reclaim any overpayments?

    Finally, the penalty is a joke. It is not even that he cannot underake public funded work, just that he cannot take NEW work. I am confident that if I, or any of my breathren had engaged in such brazen behaviour the likelihood is we would be struck off, or at the very least suspended i.e. no work – no income.

    Roll on October and the level playing field.

  6. Elliott_Lancaster

    To be brutally honest….. I think that the sentence is far too lenient. Something with more teeth was required to show how disgraceful his behaviour was.

  7. It must have been fairly egregious for the Judge in question not to have simply declined to accept all of the claims and to have gone on to make the formal complaint.

    My experience of the bar generally is that barristers are extremely conscientious about not over-claiming on these SIPS forms, and are scrupulously honest about the way they conduct themselves.

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