A pupil barrister who dishonestly copied his skeleton argument for a moot has been reprimanded and fined £1,000 by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) – the strongest penalty meted out directly by the regulator this year.
Samuel James Campbell was found guilty of professional misconduct contrary to core duty CD3 of the BSB Handbook for failing to act with honesty and integrity.
According to a newly published summary of the decision, Mr Campbell “engaged in conduct which was dishonest in that, between 13 February 2015 and the 24 February 2015, he (a) obtained copies of the skeleton arguments of other counsel in his chambers for the purpose of a pupil’s moot; and (b) submitted his skeleton argument for the moot which was almost entirely copied from the skeleton argument of counsel for the taxpayer”.
It is not known at which chambers the offence took place. Mr Campbell was called in July 2014 by Inner Temple.
The decision was a determination by consent, which means that Mr Campbell agreed for his case to be dealt with on the papers by the BSB’s professional conduct committee. All barristers choosing this option are given the opportunity to accept or reject the committee’s findings and sentence.
According to BSB guidance, determination by consent “avoids the case being referred to a full disciplinary tribunal hearing and will hopefully, with your co-operation, conclude the disciplinary process more quickly”.
A review of the eight other determinations by consent published this year, generally in respect of far more experienced barristers, showed that the penalty was the heaviest one.
The others included: a reprimand and £500 fine for being convicted of travelling on a train without a ticket; a £750 fine for being convicted of drink driving and not reporting the conviction to the BSB; a reprimand for another drink driving conviction; fines of £300 and £700, and in another case a reprimand, for practising without a practising certificate, which is a criminal offence; and a reprimand for a barrister who conducted litigation and handled client money without being authorised to do so.
All determinations by consent stay on the BSB’s website for two years.