Pupil sanctioned for passing off other people’s work as his own

Pupil: Must complete six more months

A pupil barrister who passed off other people’s work as his own and lied about it to the head of his chambers’ pupillage committee has been told he cannot qualify for at least three years.

A Bar disciplinary tribunal ruled last week that the Bar Standards Board should not issue a practising certificate to Mr P*, who was called in October 2020, before 14 December 2025.

Further, he has to complete a further six months of pupillage before any practising certificate can be issued, such pupillage not to start within two years of the same date.

The full tribunal decision has yet to be published, but the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service said that, on 12 May 2021, Mr P submitted to a member of chambers as his own work a skeleton argument as part of his practice advocacy exercise, when in fact he had taken it from a skeleton that the same barrister had submitted in 2018 as part of his own exercise.

Mr P had obtained it by searching the emails of the head of the pupillage committee, without either the head or the author’s knowledge or consent.

Then, on 19 May, he submitted as his own a draft opinion to a member of chambers, again “for the purposes of assessing his capability within pupillage”, when he knew he had taken it from the work of that barrister and of a pupil, which he had taken from the barrister’s room without her knowledge or consent.

On 1 June, he repeated the misconduct with a draft letter responding to a letter of claim.

According to BTAS, three days later in a meeting with the head of the pupillage committee, Mr P falsely said that he had not seen the draft letter before writing his own.

Mr P was also ordered to pay costs of £1,800. The decision is currently open to appeal.

* In light of the full decision, when it was subsequently published, we have decided to redact Mr P’s name.

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