27 January 2012

Our response to convicted barrister concerns

Baroness Ruth Deech, Chair of the Bar Standards Board,

"The Bar Standards Board is aware that David Friesner has continued to represent clients despite a recent criminal conviction and we share the concerns raised by barristers and the public. Whilst our rules do not allow us to comment on the actions we are taking with regard to individual cases, I can confirm we are acting within the procedures set down by our Code of Conduct having taken into account the presumption of innocence prior to conviction. "

Simon Lofthouse QC, Chair of the Professional Conduct Committee added,

"The BSB takes the most serious view of dishonesty, as reference to the published sentencing guidelines demonstrate.  Our rules set out the procedures we can adopt in respect of such types of complaints which allow for due process in their application."

Update

The Bar Standards Board, as the regulator of barristers in England and Wales, has a comprehensive complaints and disciplinary system for dealing with barristers who break its Code of Conduct and can apply for an interim suspension when a barrister has been convicted of an indictable offence.

We are aware that a barrister with a serious criminal conviction has recently represented a client post conviction and gained confirmation that the client and solicitor were made aware of the barrister's situation in the one instance that the barrister appeared in court post conviction. We can confirm that the barrister is no longer practising. We will be revisiting our timelines for urgent suspensions.