Tariq Rehman, the barrister who last month became the first lawyer to be ‘named and shamed’ by the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) for a series of complaints, has been banned from taking on any new public access cases for the time being.
A Bar interim suspension panel decided that Mr Rehman could continue to practise as a barrister, pending the outcome of any disciplinary action, but should be prevented from taking on any new public access cases for four months, or until the date of a disciplinary hearing of future charges against him if earlier.
The Bar Standards Board (BSB) said the barrister, who specialises in immigration work and is based at Kings Court Chambers in Birmingham, can continue to accept cases referred to him by solicitors.
Sarah Jagger, director of professional conduct at the BSB, said: “Our ultimate concern is of course the interests of Mr Rehman’s clients and so our supervision team will continue monitor closely his activities and those of his chambers”.
The BSB referred matters to interim suspension panels where it had “concerns about a barrister continuing to practise pending consideration and determination of disciplinary matters”.
Exercising for the first time its power under the Legal Services Act to name “in the public interest” a lawyer responsible for a series of complaints, LeO said it had upheld 14 complaints in the past year against Mr Rehman.
Steve Green, chair of the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC), the formal name for LeO, described Mr Rehman’s standards of service as “consistently poor, requiring ombudsman intervention time after time”.
However, Mr Rehman hit back, arguing that LeO was “misleading” in failing to comment on the 97% of clients of his chambers who had not complained.
He said his chambers dealt with around 300 clients per month, and a “large majority” of the 14 complaints upheld by LeO related to administrative errors or late payment of refunds.