Anomalies in the appointment of panel members to Bar disciplinary tribunals between 2006 and 2011 did not affect the validity of their findings, the Court of Appeal decided yesterday.
Three-quarters of the recommendations made by the 2012 Browne report into the disciplinary regime for barristers – sparked by irregularities over appointments to the disciplinary panels – have so far been implemented, according to a Bar Standards Board report.
A High Court judgment that refused three applications for judicial review of barristers’ disciplinary decisions is to be appealed, after the court found that anomalies in tribunal panel member appointments did not affect the validity of the findings.
The High Court has this week been hearing the first claim for judicial review arising from last year’s high-profile problems with the Bar Standards Board’s tribunals which, if successful, would throw the barristers’ disciplinary regime into disarray.
Three barristers have so far said they will appeal against disciplinary decisions affected by the failure of the Council of the Inns of Court to administer the Bar’s tribunal system properly, with the Bar Standards Board not resisting two of them, it has emerged.
The Bar Standards Board has expressed regret and disappointment at the problems uncovered in the Inns of Court’s administration of disciplinary tribunals – and opened up a turf war over the role of the new tribunals service that is being set up as a result.
The Bar Standards Board is to boost its use of social media to rebut future negative publicity, after a bruising encounter with conventional news media in the wake of the ongoing controversy over barristers’ disciplinary tribunals.
The Bar Standards Board is to accept that some barristers should have disciplinary findings against them overturned because of “anomalies” in the constitution of the tribunal panel which made the decision, it has emerged.
It has been gratifying that both the national and legal media have at last caught up with the series of revelations that Legal Futures has been reporting on since March over problems with the Bar’s disciplinary regime. Last week, suddenly, it featured on the Today programme, as well as in The Times, which in turn woke up some legal rags to what has been happening.
The Bar Standards Board has hit back at criticism on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme of the way in which it conducts disciplinary proceedings against barristers, with claims of “secrecy, incompetence and maladministration”.