‘Public access’ barrister disbarred for lying about immigration application

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5 December 2014

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BSB: barrister not qualified to act on public access basis

A barrister has been disbarred for lying about submitting an immigration application on behalf of a client’s mother-in-law.

It also emerged at a Bar disciplinary tribunal that Michael William Wainwright was not qualified to act as a public access barrister.

The tribunal found that Mr Wainwright told a client that an application had been made to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) on behalf of his mother-in-law for discretionary leave to remain in the UK. The woman was later deported to China.

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) said: “The panel heard that Mr Wainwright was engaged in conduct that was dishonest, after he informed his client that he had submitted the application form so it would reach the UKBA before the end of 2011.

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“He later indicated to his client that he had submitted the application in early January 2012. The application was not actually submitted until March 2012 – long after the date by which the client could appeal the decision by UKBA to refuse his mother-in-law leave to remain in the country.”

The panel also found that Mr Wainwright had worked with the client directly as a public access barrister without being properly qualified – as he had not completed the training or registered.

Mr Wainwright was suspended from the Bar for 28 days in March last year for misleading an immigration tribunal after saying that his lateness in attending “was caused by an accidental injury to his son, when it was, in fact, due to him representing another client at a different tribunal elsewhere at the same time”.

Sara Jagger, director of professional conduct for the BSB, said: “The trust and confidence the public places in barristers – and the reputation of the Bar – depends on barristers behaving with integrity and honesty.

“Mr Wainwright clearly failed to act in the best interests of his clients, acted dishonestly, and failed to abide by the rules for working with clients directly – all with serious consequences.

“Our concerns about his behaviour led to Mr Wainwright being suspended, on an interim basis, prior to the tribunal’s verdict. The panel’s decision to effectively make this suspension permanent by disbarring Mr Wainwright from the profession means the public is better protected as a result of our regulatory action.”

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