Barrister Tariq Rehman, still the only lawyer to be ‘named and shamed’ by the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) for his complaints record, has been disbarred after the third separate disciplinary tribunal in less than a month.
Mr Rehman, an immigration barrister and head of Kings Court Chambers in Birmingham, was earlier this month suspended for a total of 41 months for other offences, and banned from accepting public access instructions – see here and here (scroll down) – as a result of issues raised by the LeO complaints.
The third and final tribunal found him guilty of multiple failures, including generating the numerous complaints that led to him being named by LeO.
Other rule breaches included his chambers keeping £24,000 of refunds due to clients to pay its own expenses and other liabilities; failing to pay £13,200 in case fees due to LeO; and carrying on reserved legal activities through unregulated entities called KC Chambers Limited and HLT Chambers Limited, in breach of the Legal Services Act 2007.
The Bar Standards Board said that in the wake of the complaints to LeO, it inspected Kings Court Chambers, leading to the discovery of further and more systemic failures in how the chambers was run. This included evidence that Mr Rehman and his chambers were practising in breach of the Legal Services Act.
It said the latest tribunal also took into account the cumulative effect of previous disciplinary findings.
Sara Jagger, the BSB’s director of professional conduct, said: “The BSB has a duty to ensure the public are protected. The public have a right to expect that when barristers are providing legal services, they are doing so in accordance with the law.
“Mr Rehman accepted instructions on a public access basis in immigration matters, where clients were particularly vulnerable and the cases were potentially time-sensitive. The tribunal’s decision to disbar Mr Rehman reflects the need to protect the public from his serious and persistent failures in this case and in the cases decided previously.”
The tribunal’s decision is open to appeal.
Separately, barrister Oluwole Afolabi Ogunbiyi has been advised as to his future conduct after a tribunal found that, in a hearing before a deputy High Court judge, he accused opposing counsel of deliberately misleading the court without reasonable grounds.
“In doing so, Mr Ogunbiyi failed to observe his duty to the court in the administration of justice and failed to act with integrity and/or behaved in a way which is likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in the profession,” the tribunal found.