Two barristers have had contrasting fortunes in appeals against high-profile sanctions imposed by the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal. While the High Court found that the tribunal had gone too far in suspending Roy Headlam for giving a client money, it upheld the reprimand handed out to Howard Godfrey QC for making “offensive” comments in court.
Sanctions for solicitor who posted offensive comments on Facebook and barrister who got clerk to lie
A solicitor who made offensive remarks in a private Facebook group has been rebuked and fined, while other unusual disciplinary decisions announced yesterday included a suspension for a barrister who got her clerk to lie about her availability for a hearing.
The Bar Council has called on the Bar Standards Board not to move to an “entirely different system” which will see far smaller groups of people than now make decisions on what to do about barristers accused of misconduct. It said the regulator’s professional conduct committee was “working well” and should not be replaced.
Complaining about a barrister’s conduct in a written ruling is usually a better way of a judge highlighting concerns than contacting their head of chambers or regulator, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has said. His Honour Judge Shanks said his experience was that neither of those methods achieved anything.
The Bar Standards Board has decided that the 12-month period for work-based learning – pupillages and other formats that may develop – should remain but made changes to the way vocational and on-the-job training is delivered. It will also peg the minimum pupillage award – currently £12,000 – to figures from the Living Wage Foundation, currently just over £17,000 for London.
A barrister whose treatment of a client and a solicitor “could be characterised as bullying behaviour” has been reprimanded and fined. However, a Bar disciplinary tribunal said the fine would have been more severe were it not for the “exceptional mitigating circumstances in this case”.
Commercial and chancery practitioners are by far the most satisfied practitioners at the Bar, while those in crime and family the least, new research published today by the Bar Council has reported. While only 30% of family and 34% of criminal barristers said they were able to balance their home and work lives, the figure was 61% for commercial and chancery.
Women barely feature among the top 100 criminal defence barristers when judged by earnings, new figures have shown, and the Bar has been warned that the government could use EU rules on equality in procurement to force change. It all comes as the Bar Standards Board has laid out its plan to improve the position of women in the profession
Two family law barristers have set up what is believed to be the first service allowing separating couples to obtain advice from a single legal expert at any point in the process. They are launching The Divorce Surgery as an alternative business structure regulated by the Bar Standards Board later this week.
Self-employed barristers are “data controllers” and not “data processors” for the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as they need to be able to act independently of instructing solicitors, the Bar Council has said.
It’s slightly tongue-in-cheek, but let’s see if we can design a business model that is doomed to struggle and which will ensure that we miss out on the profit and cash opportunities that come with providing high-value services at high prices in a near-monopoly situation.
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