A leading white collar crime barrister said this week that he may conduct straightforward litigation through his new Bar Standards Board-authorised entity.
Bright Line Law, launched this week, is the brainchild of Jonathan Fisher QC and was devised in part as an attempt to bring together the various strands of his financial crime and proceeds of crime practice, plus academic teaching and training, the barrister said.
“Practicing as a barrister through a corporate entity is the perfect way forward for a leading practitioner with a strong reputation in a niche area, such as financial crime,” he said.
“It enables solicitors, accountants and other clients to access barrister services in a modern and commercially sensitive environment. I am watching the BSB’s approach to the introduction of multi-disciplinary practices this autumn with great interest and the possible implications for white collar crime practitioners.”
The barrister has left Devereux Chambers and has taken an associate tenancy at Red Lion Chambers, where he was a pupil, for those clients who want a ‘traditional’ relationship with him.
Asked whether he would take advantage of his new-found ability to conduct litigation, Mr Fisher said he did not have any intention to compete for work with solicitors but said it would depend on the case.
He said: “I can envisage a case, for example something that goes into the [tribunal], let’s say a money laundering case or a tax case, where I would be prepared to conduct the litigation myself.
“But it’s really got to be a case… where there was not disclosure of documents, that sort of thing. I know that I’m licensed to do it but common sense tells me that I’m really trained and good at being a barrister and not a solicitor.”
He said the application for an entity went “incredibly smoothly”. He was “very impressed” with the BSB, which was “really helpful” in assisting applicants to meet their regulatory requirements.
He continued: “Actually when you look at what they are trying to do, it seems to me pretty sensible, given that they are now licensing barristers to do litigation. I mean, it’s pregnant with disaster… So I got in the frame of mind of thinking ‘well, actually, if I was in their position I’d be doing the same thing’.”
He said Bright Line, which is based in London and Manchester, would “bring together various facets of my professional life, my advisory work, my teaching, my lecturing, my training, some consultancy work. It’s all under one roof which is actually quite neat.”
He is a visiting professor at the London School of Economics, where he teaches modules on corporate crime, financial crime, and international economic sanctions.
According to Mr Fisher, Bright Line refers to the ‘bright line rule’, which is “a simple objective standard, based on the principles of thorough examination and integrity, which is applied in every case to resolve ambiguities”.