Senior judge launches extraordinary attack over “blackmail” by solicitors and tells barristers to stop defending them
A senior judge has accused solicitors of “blackmailing” the immigration tribunal in an extraordinary attack that also branded their conduct as “disgraceful” and “shameful” in not pursuing the appeals they had lodged.He also warned that some barristers had wrongly seen their role as protecting their instructing solicitors.
Disciplinary round-up: fine for firm which failed to make client’s visa application and then lost his passport
A north London law firm has been rebuked for misleading its client into thinking that it had made a visa application on his behalf. It is one of a series of recent disciplinary cases, including the bankrupt insolvency barrister fined for not paying over fees to his trustee in bankruptcy.
The Competition and Market Authority’s report on legal services yesterday provoked a predictably mixed response that pitted the Law Society against the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and found support from the body representing paid McKenzie Friends. Meanwhile, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers called on the Legal Services Board to use its powers to force regulatory independence to happen.
The incoming chairman of the Bar last night questioned the way court modernisation is being carried out, expressing concern that there is “no plan B” if digitisation does not work and that the justice system would lose its essence by moving to online hearings. His wide-ranging inaugural speech also focused on the travails of the junior Bar.
The status and quality of legal representation for children before the Youth Court need to be raised first by an increase in legal aid rates and then by mandatory training for all solicitors and barristers appearing for them, a government-commissioned review has recommended.
A “vast amount” of complex and lucrative international commercial work could be lost by UK lawyers if they are denied access to the EU legal services market as a result of Brexit, the Bar Council has warned – although some lawyers would “doubtless be in high demand in the short term for new, Brexit-related work”.
A model of training barristers that would split the Bar professional training course into two – allowing students to learn procedure and evidence however they want before undergoing compulsory skills training – has been put forward by the Bar Council and Council of the Inns of Court as an alternative to the regulator’s plans for training reform.
Bar Standards Board (BSB) entity regulation is “significantly cheaper and simpler” for sole practitioners and better for clients, according to a solicitor whose start-up law firm is to be regulated by the BSB. She said its regulation was “more client friendly” than that of the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
The High Court has overturned a disciplinary finding against a barrister after finding that the Bar Standards Board “seriously mishandled” the case. It was also very critical of the disciplinary tribunal for allowing a crucial statement as hearsay evidence.
Barrister Tariq Rehman, still the only lawyer to be ‘named and shamed’ by the Legal Ombudsman for his complaints record, has been disbarred after the third separate disciplinary tribunal in less than a month. He had previously been suspended and barred from accepting public access work.