Barrister Barred Over False Sandhurst Claim

| General


On 6th December 2022, the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service as part of the Council of the Inns of Court published into the public domain details of its eye-opening decision to exclude a legal professional occupying the position of a barrister from practising in the legal profession in connection with allegations that he had submitted misleading statements about himself on his job applications. All legal professionals need to be considering the outcome of this case especially when they are considering making applications to employers such as barrister chambers and providers of legal services for positions such as training contracts, pupillages and other related jobs.  

What Happened in the case?

The lawyer the centre of proceedings appears to have commenced his career as a barrister in around October 2012 by way of a call to the bar. However, what caught the eye of the regulator were the events which led to him becoming a barrister and relatively shortly afterwards in the matter. The first incident the regulator appears to have focussed on was the events which seem to have taken place in 2011 when the legal professional submitted his application to a barristers chambers for a pupilage, which would seemingly have given him the keys to a successful career in the legal profession as a barrister by allowing him to practice at the bar.  

Nothing To See Here?

This would normally not be noteworthy as the legal professional’s application for the pupillage was ultimately successful. However, his curriculum vitae and application form contained statements purportedly claiming that he had achieved a Sandhurst Royal Military Academy commission and attempted to corroborate this by submitting that he had provided oral witness testimony for his fellow Sandhurst colleagues. He also claimed to have testified at inquest hearings investigating the demise of fellow Sandhurst Military Academy members whilst on training operations and those whose lives had been ended whilst serving in the British armed forces.       

Later Application

The legal professional after a successful tenure with the chambers then applied for tenancy with another reputable barrister Chambers two years later in around 2013. He made the same statements in support of his application. However, this application contrasted starkly and he claimed to have achieved the rank of Officer in the British Army. In addition, he submitted that he had disposed of his business in the previous years.  

Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out…       

When the Regulator examined the statements purportedly made by the legal professional they discovered that the statements lacked veracity as they created a false impression of him. The Regulator found that he had neglected to notify it regarding the false impression he had put forward by way of the discrepancies made in his respective application forms for his pupillage and tenancy. He also failed to communicate with the regulator honestly regarding the significance of his unprofessional behaviour.      

 What Did the Regulator Say?

The Regulator was damning over the legal professional’s actions in this case, they stated he had:

  • been untruthful
  • undermined the public confidence in the legal profession and 
  • disgraced the profession’s good reputation.       

Pages Turned…Lessons Learned…

Job applicants need to be taking the following actions in response to this case: 

  • not including misleading statements in their applications
  • remembering that such claims can be investigated and verified at any time by a regulator and
  • acting truthfully when putting together their applications. 

If such persons aspiring for a career in the legal profession do so it will reduce the likelihood of them facing being barred from the legal profession due to conduct unbefitting of a legal professional. 

ASSESSING FIRMS

#AddleshawGoddard #CMS #EvershedsSutherlandLLP #DLAPiper #PinsentMasonsLLP #Shoosmiths #BrabnersLLP #DavittJonesBould #DWF #GateleyPlc #HillDickinsonLLP #JMWSolicitorsLLP #KuitSteinartLevy #Mills&Reeve #SquirePatonBoggs #TLT #Clyde&CoLLP #BrowneJacobson

SOURCES USED WHEN WRITING THIS ARTICLE

[SOURCE 1] Hyde, John – Dishonest solicitor ‘too embarrassed to tell bosses of her mistake – Law Society Gazette – 3 September 2022- Dishonest solicitor ‘too embarrassed to tell bosses of her mistake | News | Law Gazette

[SOURCE 2] Gibbs, Richard Anthony – The Bar, Tribunals & Adjudication Service – October 2022 - Outcome-Posting-Gibbs.pdf (tbtas.org.uk)

[SOURCE 3] Paragraph 901.7 Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales [8th Edition]

[SOURCE 4] Core Duty 9

[SOURCE 5] Rule Rc65.7 of the Bar Standards Board Handbook

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