Barrister who withdrew from case at end of hearing “to be advised” on conduct

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20 June 2016

BSB: Handbook breaches

BSB: Handbook breaches

A barrister who withdrew from acting for her local authority client at the end of an eight-day planning appeal is to be advised as to her future conduct, but has otherwise avoided sanction at a Bar disciplinary tribunal.

Nadia Sharif, a planning and environment specialist at No5 Chambers who was called in 1985, was found to have been in breach of the Bar Standards Board Handbook on two grounds.

First, on 10 February 2014, having accepted instructions to appear on behalf of Wychavon District Council in resisting two planning appeals during a hearing lasting eight days – which started on 28 January – she refused to continue to act in accordance with her instructions.

Second, on the same date, she told her client that she was not prepared to make closing submissions “on behalf of the council in accordance with the case that she was instructed to advance and was ceasing to act and returned her written instructions forthwith”.

In neither instance did she have any proper justification for doing so, the tribunal ruled.

Her sentence was “to attend on the chairman of the [Bar Standards Board’s professional conduct committee] to be given advice with regard to withdrawal from a case”.

Subject to an appeal, she was also ordered to pay £903 for the costs of the Bar Standards Board’s witnesses.

Meanwhile, a separate tribunal has disbarred unregistered barrister Yawar Ali Shah, who was called in 2006, after he was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to defraud, and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in 2013. He also failed to report his conviction to the BSB.

Mr Shah – who was also a chartered legal executive – and another individual cloned the identity of a legitimate law firm and used it to carry out four mortgage frauds. Over the course of about four months, just over £2m in mortgages had been obtained.

Mr Shah was sentenced to a three-year prison term in 2014 by the Court of Appeal, following the Attorney-General’s appeal to increase it from 18 months.

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