Almost half of female barristers have experienced discrimination at work and 40% have experienced harassment, a major report by the Bar Standards Board has found. Dr Vanessa Davies, director general of the BSB, described the findings as “very disappointing”.
A barrister who overturned his disbarment at the Court of Appeal last year has been disbarred again. Damian McCarthy was found by a Bar disciplinary tribunal to have forged client care letters, after a direct access client complained.
A barrister turned solicitor has been disbarred 10 years after he was struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. He did not tell the Bar about the decision and the Bar Standards Board only became aware of it last year when Lloyd Aneke applied for restoration to the roll of solicitors.
The Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling that a barrister who successfully defended herself in disciplinary proceedings should not be paid costs at the £120 hourly rate allowed by a tribunal-appointed assessor. But it upheld the basic principle that barristers in such situations can claim their costs at a rate higher than that of a normal litigant-in-person.
The High Court has thrown out two appeals against Bar disciplinary tribunal decisions by “named and shamed” barrister Tariq Rehman. It has also refused permission for him to proceed with two judicial reviews and had no truck with the arguments he put forward.
Large numbers of barristers’ chambers are flouting an obligation to publish diversity data and the Bar Standards Board has been “unsophisticated” in its implementation of Legal Services Board diversity rules, a significant study has concluded.
Chambers carrying out immigration work have voiced a “unanimous and strong opinion” that they “repeatedly experience poor standards of service from solicitors”, a Bar Standards Board report has found. Complaints included “delays and outright failure” to pay barristers.
Barristers have complained that the decision of their regulator to make public the risk of commercial pressures damaging the Bar could on its own have a negative impact on the profession’s reputation. There are also reports of “growing anxiety” among young barrister about chambers being run as corporate organisations.
One of the newest barrister entities has said that using its services will be “like going to a solicitor’s firm, but a better kind of solicitor”. In a separate development, two barristers have set up a BSB-regulated firm to provide clients with a “bespoke service”, principally in sports, entertainment and media law.
The Legal Services Board has strongly criticised the Solicitors Regulation Authority over failures in its enforcement work and IT systems – and also warned about the risk that the overhaul of the Handbook “may be too much” for firms and the regulator to cope with. However, the LSB said the legal regulators collectively had all made “substantial progress”.