Putting the cab into the cab-rank rule: BSB fines barrister over taxi firm conviction


BSB

BSB: Raja found guilty of professional misconduct

A barrister convicted by a magistrates’ court of failing to get licenses for his taxi firm has been fined £600 by the Bar Standards Board (BSB).

Ahtiq Raja was sole director of taxi firm Call a Cab Limited. Until last month, he was based at 9 King’s Bench Walk, and represented clients in the areas of crime, civil and immigration.

A spokesman for the chambers told Legal Futures yesterday: “Mr Raja ceased to be a member of 9 King’s Bench Walk on 23 September 2015.”

In a decision posted on the BSB website and dated 21 September 2015, the regulator said Mr Raja was found guilty last year at Oxford Magistrates Court of five separate offences of “operating a vehicle as a private hire vehicle in a controlled district without having a current license”.

Back in 2013, both Mr Raja and his taxi firm had been initially acquitted of any offences by Aylesbury Magistrates’ Court on technical grounds, but Aylesbury Vale District Council successfully appealed to the High Court in R (on the application of Aylesbury District Council) v Call a Cab Limited [2013] EWHC 3765 (Admin). Mr Raja was not separately represented in the case.

The High Court heard counsel for Call a Cab say he believed that Mr Raja was no longer sole director of the company, but Lord Justice Treacy pointed out that he was “at the material time”.

Treacy LJ and Mr Justice Ouseley agreed that the case should be remitted the case for further consideration by a district judge, leading to last year’s conviction and a total bill of £21,100 in fines, costs and victim surcharge for the company and Mr Raja.

The BSB notice said, as a result of a determination by consent – an alternative way of dealing with cases that would otherwise be referred to a disciplinary tribunal – Mr Raja, called in 2007, had agreed to pay a fine of £600.

He was found guilty of professional misconduct contrary to core duty 5 of the BSB Handbook, under which barristers “must not behave in a way which is likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in you or in the profession”.

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