Barnett: QC must investigate my case before it gets to tribunal

Print This Post

2 September 2014


Richard Barnett

Barnett: “nothing to hide”

Richard Barnett, former chair of the Law Society’s land law and conveyancing committee, has called for an independent QC to investigate disciplinary allegations against him before his case reaches the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).

Mr Barnett told Legal Futures that he blamed the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for the collapse of his law firm, Barnetts.

Mr Barnett, a Law Society council member, said: “They’ve ruined me… The SRA must be accountable. The one thing I’ve always had is integrity and honesty. I’ve got nothing to hide. I am 100% convinced that I have done nothing wrong.”

Mr Barnett described how his firm, which specialised in volume conveyancing and litigation, went into administration in December last year, after what he claimed was a threat from the SRA to make it the subject of an intervention.

The firm was subsequently broken up and sold off in January this year. Anthony Swift, a former equity partner at Barnetts with a minority shareholding, is also due to appear before the SDT.

In a letter last month to the SRA, seen by Legal Futures, Mr Barnett said the allegations against him arose primarily from “money borrowed by Barnetts Solicitors from the Axiom Legal Financing Fund in 2012”.

Mr Barnett went on: “Despite my providing the SRA with copious extraneous evidence supporting my stated position, the SRA has, in the main, ignored compelling documents and, instead, has preferred to proceed with allegations which are (on the SRA’s own admission) based on evidence which I supplied myself.

“Letters of complaint as to the SRA’s approach and conduct have been plentiful, but have been met with plain rebuttal or inertia on each occasion.”

In the letter, Mr Barnett gave details of what he said were “some of the most obvious errors or misleading statements” which in “in themselves should be enough for the SRA to withdraw all allegations”.

Mr Barnett said the SRA’s alleged wrongdoing had caused him “immense financial loss, an unwarranted attack on my reputation and integrity, and clearly substantial emotional distress”.

He added that he had agreed with the Law Society that his council seat should be “held in abeyance” until the SDT hearing was over, and he would not take part in any Law Society duties until that time.

A spokesman for the SRA said the regulator never commented on cases due to be heard by the SDT and all the allegations against Mr Barnett were as yet unproven.

Tags: , ,



One Response to “Barnett: QC must investigate my case before it gets to tribunal”

  1. At LawCare we get many calls with some involvement of the SRA. The processes used by the SRA have been queried by some of our callers and so I would be very grateful to know if Mr Barnett gets a QC to review before or on behalf of the SRA how it is paid for and that QC’s name We would be grateful to know the process this case follows, as it may help others who phone the helpline in distress – so we would be grateful to be kept informed at some stage please.

  2. Ann Charlton LawCare on September 7th, 2014 at 9:36 am

Leave a comment

* Denotes required field

All comments will be moderated before posting. Please see our Terms and Conditions

Legal Futures Blog

Rating lawyers by their wins and losses – a good idea?

Robert Ambrogi

Lawyers will give you any number of reasons why their win-loss rates in court are not accurate reflections of their legal skills. Yet a growing number of companies are evaluating lawyers by this standard – compiling and analysing lawyers’ litigation track records to help consumers and businesses make more-informed hiring decisions. The shortcomings of evaluating lawyers by win rates are many. Not least of them is that so few cases ever make it to a win or loss. Of equal concern is that, in the nuances of law practice, it is not always obvious what constitutes a win or a loss.

February 22nd, 2017