Barrister who falsified CV to get pupillage and tenancy disbarred years later

Sandhurst: Barrister claimed to have been commissioned

A barrister whose applications for pupillage at one chambers and then tenancy at another were based on a false CV has been disbarred – more than a decade after he first used it.

A Bar disciplinary tribunal said it was unable to find that Richard Anthony Joseph Gibbs, who was called in 2012, had disadvantaged other candidates, but his misconduct “plainly would have an effect of harming trust and confidence”.

In 2011, when applying for pupillage at St Ives Chambers, he claimed to have been commissioned by the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, given evidence in support of members of his troop and at inquests into deaths that had occurred during training exercises, and had been a regular in the Army.

Two years later, when applying for tenancy, he told No5 Chambers that he had been a British Army officer between 2001 and 2006 and had sold his company, Haven Search and Selection Ltd, in 2010.

The criminal law specialist, who most recently practised from Millennium Chambers, admitted that this was not true, and that in 2019 he failed to provide the Bar Standards Board (BSB) “with all the relevant details regarding the inaccuracies of his CV and No5 Chambers’ findings against him”.

The Bar disciplinary tribunal said that the circumstances Mr Gibbs had pleaded in mitigation – which were not detailed – were “not exceptional”. The dishonesty had been “deliberate and repeated”.

It went on: “The tribunal heard that the respondent has been successfully in his career as a barrister and that he had contributed to the profession in a number of ways.” He put forward references who spoke “highly” of him.

“The tribunal noted that the respondent has expressed great remorse and that it was aware that disbarment would have a significant impact on him personally and financially but it concluded that… the appropriate sanction in this case was disbarment.”

A BSB spokesman said: “It is not acceptable for a barrister to repeatedly and deliberately dishonestly misrepresent their career. The tribunal’s unanimous decision to disbar Mr Gibbs reflects this.”

    Readers Comments

  • Matt says:

    He should not have been disbarred. Law is a cut-throat profession where the elites and the rich have every advantage from day one; it is not what you know, but rather WHO you know.

    He is clearly a capable barrister-the fact that he lied on his CV only shows that capable individuals are kept away from this profession. If it wasn’t for him lying on his CV, he would have never been able to practice.

    Again. It’s WHO you know, not WHAT you know.

  • Rob says:

    I was called in 2006 and being slightly older than my contemporaries I was shocked by the propensity of many to tell balent lies in an attempt to get ahead. I know of people who lied to the Inn in scholarship applications, cheated in exams and falsified things on their CV’s. Worse, the fact that I found out means they didn’t have the common sense to take measures to hide thier deception…some even boasted about it!

    You could blame the lack of pupillage opportunities and ridiculous level of competition but really it’s a fundamental failure of the profession. Breaches of the Code and especially criminality and dishonesty need to be dealt with harshly. Drug use, lying, deception have no place in the profession. In my career I’ve heard people defend casual drug use and fare evasion by members of the Bar as not that serious. I couldn’t disagree more the assumption should be that any such behaviour will result in disbarment.

    I dealt with NHS cleaning staff found to have committed identify fraud who were subject to recovery action by the NHS. They did thier job but because they secured it by lying the NHS sought to recover the money. I always thought that was wrong but if it’s okay for the NHS then I don’t see why Mr Gibbs can’t be compelled to pay back all the legal aid money he secured. He lied and but for his lies he may never have secured a pupilage so he arguably gained a pecuniary advantage by deception.

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