The first and only lawyer to be ‘named and shamed’ by the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) has been suspended from practice at the Bar for 14 months.
Tariq Rehman was also prohibited from accepting or carrying out public access instructions for three years.
In February, Mr Rehman was found guilty of misconduct for a second time after he had delayed or failed to refund fees and pay compensation awards to clients, but sentencing was deferred.
The Bar disciplinary tribunal said Mr Rehman, as head of Kings Court Chambers in Birmingham, “failed to take all reasonable steps to ensure that his chambers were administered competently and efficiently and were properly staffed” in that a £1,100 payment to a lay client as a refund of fees was delayed by five months in 2012.
The tribunal described the offence as “serious”, and occurred “by reason of administrative incompetence or inefficiency of Tariq Rehman or staff employed by him”, and failure to comply with the code of conduct.
Mr Rehman was found guilty of three further offences of failing to pay public access clients by way of refund of fees or compensation recommended by LeO – payments was delayed by four months and seven months in two of the cases, while a payment of £2,900 from May 2014 has still not been made.
A Bar Standards Board spokesman said the delay in sentencing was due to the fact that Mr Rehman unsuccessfully appealed the findings from the February hearing.
BSB director of professional conduct, Sara Jagger, added: “Barristers, and in particular heads of chambers, have a duty to co-operate with the Legal Ombudsman scheme and make sure that their practices are managed competently and efficiently. Mr Rehman’s failure to pay refunds and compensation in a timely manner, and in at least one case, not at all, is a breach of this duty.”
It is the barrister’s second suspension. In April 2015, in an unrelated matter, a tribunal ruled that Mr Rehman should be suspended for two months for failing to pay three barristers for work they had carried out.
In December 2014 the immigration barrister became the first and only lawyer to be ‘named and shamed’ by LeO after it upheld 25 complaints against him in two years. LeO’s most recent figures showed that he had been the subject of more complaints – 39, all upheld – than any law firm.
In August, the High Court acceded to requests by LeO and the Bar Standards Board to issue a two-year civil restraint order against Mr Rehman for repeatedly and unsuccessfully challenging disciplinary findings made against him.