A non-practising barrister has been disbarred for dishonesty, after falsely persuading a client he would bring judicial review proceedings.
A Bar disciplinary tribunal found that Syed Idnaan Ali, called in 2016, failed to act with honesty and integrity, and behaved in a way that was likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in a barrister.
He also received a reprimand for practising without authorisation charges and was banned from obtaining a practising certificate for 12 months for being rude and aggressive to the client when he complained.
In 2018 Mr Ali met Mr J while working at a Birmingham law firm and told him that he would prepare a judicial review claim in relation to his failed asylum application, doing so separately from his work for the firm – even though Mr Ali had no professional client or a licence to conduct public access work.
In any case, he did not pursue the claim, but produced false evidence that he had, and used a false address for the client on the fabricated claim form.
Mr Ali denied preparing any claim form or anything else associated with a judicial review claim. But the tribunal preferred Mr J’s evidence, which was backed up by text messages that the barrister agreed were genuine.
It rejected an allegation that Mr Ali had pushed Mr J, accepting that it could not be sure of this to a criminal standard of proof. But it found he had been rude and aggressive when Mr J refused to pay more money without knowing about the progress of the claim.
Addressing sanctions at a later hearing, the tribunal reported that Mr Ali said he now accepted the allegations against him and had learned from his mistake.
In mitigation he claimed there was a “toxic environment” at work, that he was the father of a new child and had suffered a recent bereavement.
The tribunal acknowledged the orders it made would harm Mr Ali’s career, but said nevertheless that the public had to be protected and standards maintained.
It ordered him to pay costs of £1,560.
A Bar Standards Board spokesman said: “Acting in such a dishonest way is a very serious matter for a barrister and the tribunal’s decision to disbar Mr Ali reflects this.”