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Two Littleton barristers, David Reade QC and Chris Quinn, have successfully secured the overturning of an Order made by the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Inns of Court disbarring a barrister. It is believed to be the first time that such an appeal has succeeded in the Court of Appeal

The barrister, Damian McCarthy of Cloisters, had been struck off by the Tribunal (where he was not represented by either David or Chris) upon a finding that he had claimed to have sent a number of so-called "Rule 6” letters to his client when he had not in fact done so. Rule 6 letters refer to a requirement of the Public Access Rules which regulate how a barrister can act on a direct access basis for a client.

Upon their initial instruction in the case by Patrick Gaul and Barbara Flannery of Weightmans LLP, Chris discovered a reference to a draft witness statement that had apparently been in the possession of the Bar Standards Board (being the body responsible for prosecuting such cases) which had not been disclosed to Mr McCarthy’s then legal team. They complained that this non-disclosure had led to such unfairness that the decision below should be quashed.

Following an unsuccessful appeal to the Board of Visitors and then a judicial review, Chris and David then took the case to the Court of Appeal [Burnett LJ, Newey J and Dame Janet Smith DBE] where Burnett LJ described a later statement from the same individual which the BSB had decided to rely upon as being "an amalgam of evidence properly so-called, comment and argument intended to demolish Counsel’s defence to the charges, rather than to provide unvarnished evidence”. He then said of the failure to disclose the earlier statement to Mr McCarthy’s legal team:

"What happened was extraordinary. A conscious decision was taken by an official at the BSB which had the effect of subverting the rules which provide for disclosure and furthermore suggested that he was blind to any sense of fairness in the conduct of a disciplinary prosecution. To my mind, that was compounded by inviting a witness to assume the role of surrogate prosecutor by producing a statement of the sort I have described.”

A link to the judgment of the Court of Appeal can be found here.

David and Chris are members of Littleton’s Disciplinary and Regulatory Group (DRG) which is headed by Eleena Misra and Carol Davis. Please contact our clerks if you would like to explore the possibility of being represented by a Littleton barrister in your case.

Posted: 20.01.2015 at 10:01
Tags:  Cases  Professional Discipline
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