Lawyer Rebuked for Attending Wrong Court 150 miles Away

| General

Achieving the accolade of barrister in criminal law is one of the most prestigious titles. Under normal circumstances when barristers make the news it is due to some outstanding performance in court. However, in mid-November 2022, a barrister made the legal headlines when a legal professional made the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The legal professional had achieved a  successful bar career and which many mere mortals could only dream of. Now as a barrister of this level a person has to possess a number of key attributes including but not limited to the following:

  • intelligence
  • professionalism

  • attention to detail

  • timekeeping skills

  • communication and 

  • an ability to comply with case management directions handed down by a judge in court. 

However, this particular barrister surprisingly appears to have lacked these skills. 

 What Happened In The Case?

Matters escalated when the legal professional had been assigned a file from a member of his working team during staff absence. It was apparently in relation to some accusations regarding sexual offences. The defendant at the centre of the allegations was in the unfortunate situation of having nobody to represent him from a legal perspective. Once instructed the lawyer has seemingly read through the paperwork, recognised that the court hearing was scheduled for Newport and arranged to attend it. As a result he decided to go to the court in Newport. 

Nothing To See Here…What Is All The Fuss About?

Normally such cases would be seen as the normal day-to-day bread and butter for criminal law barristers. However, it appears that this legal professional did not demonstrate the required observation skills. He had driven to Newport in Wales. However, on arrival in Newport he realised that he had seemingly arrived at the incorrect venue. On closer inspection the case was not to be heard at Newport in Wales at all and the hearing was scheduled to take place in Newport, which is located on the Isle of Wight. For context, the lawyer had apparently miscalculated where the venue of the hearing to such an extent that he was approximately one hundred and fifty miles away in Wales not on the Isle of Wight.         

Courtroom Comments?

The barrister appears to have recognised his error and immediately contacted the court to put matters right. However, if he thought the judge would see the funny side he was mistaken. The judge criticised the behaviour. The lawyer was called upon to explain his actions of attending at the incorrect court venue over one hundred and fifty miles away. The judge took the matter so seriously because it caused a serious financial loss to the taxpayer in wasted legal fees and costs. Piling on the agony the judge even chose to express his regret over the absence of the defence barrister and commenting to the defendant that his barrister had travelled to Newport in Wales. The judge poured cold water over the lawyer’s attempt to rectify things when he commented that such actions by lawyers are inexcusable and warned that in future cases this error of judgment should not occur.          

Practice Points For Legal Professionals

This circumstances surrounding this case are food for thought for all those legal professionals attending court hearings. They should research the locations of courts by searching the postcode stated on the court papers and use technologies such as the Post Office Postcode tracker, Google Maps and StreetView so they know where to go. This will mitigate the risk of a repeat performance of similar events as judges will be far from impressed. 


#BlakeMorganLLP #Clyde&CoLLP #CapsticksLLP #Hempsons #KingsleyNapleyLLP #RadcliffeLeBrrasseurLLP #BatesWells #BrownJacobson #CMS #DACBeachcroft #Fieldfisher #HerbertSmithFreehills #RussellCookeLLP #BlackfordsLLP #KeoghsLLP 


[SOURCE 1] South Wales Argus – ‘London Barrister went to Newport Wales for Isle of Wight court case – 16th November 2022 - London barrister went to Newport Wales for Isle of Wight court case | South Wales Argus

[SOURCE 2] Dye, Eleanor – Judge slams blundering barrister – Daily Mail - Barrister turns up at court in Newport in Wales instead of Newport on Isle of Wight - 150 miles away | Daily Mail Online

[SOURCE 3] Becket Chambers – 5 tips to prepare for a court hearing – 19th August 2019 - Top 5 tips to prepare for a court hearing - Becket Chambers (



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