A one-time barrister disbarred in 2016 has had her assets frozen over allegations of misconduct while acting as a McKenzie Friend.
His Honour Judge Dight, sitting in Central London County Court, last week continued the freezing injunction, obtained without notice, against Katrina McCarthy.
According to Landmark Chambers, the application was made by housing association Notting Hill Genesis (NHG) in support of its claim against Ms McCarthy for inducing the breach of contract of one of its tenants. Landmark barrister Tom Morris acted for NHG.
NHG claims that Ms McCarthy, acting as its tenant’s McKenzie friend, tortiously induced the tenant to start paying his rent directly into her own bank account. She had told the tenant that she would then transfer the money into a ‘court rent account’ so that he could ‘offset’ his rent whilst a disrepair dispute with NHG was resolved.
The tenant ceased paying rent in 2019 and, by the time a possession order was obtained against him in June on mandatory grounds, was in arrears of over £23,000.
Landmark said it was only after the possession hearing, at which the tenant was represented by Ms McCarthy as his McKenzie Friend, that NHG discovered what had been happening. The housing association also claims equitable remedies in respect of alleged breaches of trust.
NHG’s without-notice application was made “almost immediately after the relevant facts were uncovered by Notting Hill’s officers”.
Despite being served with the order and indicating to the court that she intended to resist it, Ms McCarthy failed to attend the return hearing.
“HHJ Dight CBE refused a request (made by email without evidence) to adjourn the hearing and was satisfied that Ms McCarthy had breached various provisions of the order relating to the provision of information and an affidavit.
“Continuing the order, HHJ Dight CBE also ordered Ms McCarthy to pay Notting Hill’s costs (including those of the return hearing on the indemnity basis) and to make a payment on account of £10,000. Ms McCarthy has until 16th August to respond to the claim.”
Ms McCarthy, called in 2004, was disbarred in 2016 after a Bar disciplinary tribunal found that she operated as a barrister for five months to March 2015 without a practising certificate.
During that time, she appeared for clients in court, on one occasion lying to the judge that she had been instructed by solicitors and would be able to provide the court with a practising certificate within seven days. She also failed to co-operate with the Bar Standards Board
Mr Morris was instructed by London firm Winckworth Sherwood.