SRA contradicts Blacker’s claim that it paid him libel damages

SRA: No action, no payout, no NDA

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has contradicted the claim made by notorious ex-solicitor Dr Alan Blacker to the Charity Tribunal earlier this year that it paid him damages for defamation.

The regulator also denied his claim that it made him sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

As we reported on Wednesday, following Dr Blacker’s conviction for benefit fraud in 2020, he was automatically disqualified from acting as a trustee or a senior manager of a charity.

The Charity Commission rejected an application for a waiver to allow him to continue his role at the Joint Armed Forces Legal Advocacy Service, a decision upheld on appeal in April by the Charity Tribunal.

The tribunal looked at his 2016 striking off as a solicitor, which was in part because he published “inaccurate and misleading” academic qualifications, appointments, accreditations and titles.

It was these claims – including that he had been given a peerage and was known as Lord Harley – that had brought him widespread attention.

Judge Alison McKenna recorded Dr Blacker’s claim that, after the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing, he brought defamation proceedings against the SRA “for its wrongful statements about him and that he was awarded damages”.

When she asked him why he had not produced documentary evidence of this, he replied that he could not do so as he had signed an NDA.

In the absence of corroborative evidence, the judge did not accept that the SRA had retracted its allegations or paid him damages for defamation.

“It is counter-intuitive that a person who exonerates himself in defamation proceedings would sign an NDA so that nobody else would know of his exoneration,” she said.

“Nevertheless, if the appellant’s evidence about the NDA is correct, he could have applied to present it to the tribunal subject to a direction as to its confidentiality, but he did not make any such application.”

In a statement issued to Legal Futures, the SRA contradicted Dr Blacker’s version of events. “We are not aware of any defamation proceedings and have not admitted to making any false statements.

“We have not paid any damages to Dr Blacker as a result of any proceedings issued by him and he has not been required to sign an NDA.” There were no agreements at all in place with him, she confirmed.

But the regulator added that, as Dr Blacker was no longer on the roll of solicitors, it would not be taking any further action against him over what was said at the tribunal.

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