Reprimand for barrister who encouraged client to seek out damaging information about fellow counsel

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27 July 2016


Internet search: barrister told client to keep quiet

Internet search: barrister told client to keep quiet

A barrister who encouraged a client to search online for damaging information about another member of the Bar, and then told her to deny that he had done so, has been reprimanded by a Bar disciplinary tribunal.

It is the second reprimand from a tribunal for Mohammed Omar Faruk, who was called 1996, in eight months.

The tribunal ruling said he was “found to have failed to act with integrity in that, in the course of a telephone conversation with Ms X a client whom he had previously represented and who had also previously been represented by Mr Y, a barrister and professional colleague, invited Ms X to look up the name of Mr Y on the internet well knowing that, when she did so, she would learn of matters which for Mr Y, had involved a matter of personal tragedy, but which Mr Faruk believed nonetheless would tend to damage his reputation in the eyes of Ms X and that Mr Faruk acted with the intention of causing such damage and laughed when doing so”.

Further, Mr Faruk “failed to act with honesty, alternatively failed to act with integrity, in that in the course of a telephone conversation with Ms X referred to above, having invited Ms X to look up the name of Mr Y on the internet, Mr Faruk told Ms X that the conversation was “confidential” and should you ever be asked about it, you would deny that it had taken place”.

Mr Faruk was reprimanded and fined £500, although the decision is still open to appeal.

Last November, Mr Faruk was reprimanded and fined £300 after admitting that he had talked to jurors at Basildon Railway Station after a trial where he had appeared before them, and asked them about the basis for their verdict.

However, though this was in breach of his duty to the court in the administration of justice, the tribunal heard that the conversation was unintentional.



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Legal Futures Blog

Be careful you do not leave anything behind: will we see the end of chambers?

Charles Feeny

Experience of practice by digital support suggests that working practices will become much more informal and spontaneous, not requiring support by specific entities or even contractual arrangements. This is likely to be particularly true of the Bar, which is or should be a profession focusing on individuals. The future of the Bar is more likely to resemble a library as seen in Scotland and Ireland – albeit an electronic library – rather than the traditional chambers structure.

January 18th, 2017