The appeal process has changed over time, so earlier appeal decisions are from the Visitors to the Inns of Court and more recent ones are judgments of the High Court. There are also several Court of Appeal decisions.

Disciplinary Tribunal decisions may also be challenged by Judicial Review. In this process the court considers whether a decision is lawful and whether the right procedures have been followed, instead of looking at the outcome of the process.

Click on the case titles below to download the full judgments.

Kwiatkowski v Bar Standards Board – 22 June 2022

A barrister appealed against a Disciplinary Tribunal’s finding of professional misconduct relating to “sexist and discriminatory” comments in breach of Core Duty 5. The High Court rejected the barrister’s arguments that the comments were not discriminatory, did not breach Core Duty 5, were not serious enough to amount to professional misconduct, and that interference with the barrister’s Article 10 ECHR right to freedom of expression by imposing a sanction was not justified.

Appeal dismissed

Farquharson v Bar Standards Board – 13 May 2022

A barrister appealed against a Disciplinary Tribunal’s findings of professional misconduct relating to a sexual assault (for which he had received a criminal conviction) and text messages which he sent to the victim and to another colleague, asking those people to lie about the events of the evening when the sexual assault took place. The barrister also appealed against the sanction of disbarment which had been imposed by the Tribunal. The High Court dismissed the appeal against the findings but reduced the sanction from disbarment to concurrent suspensions, the longest of which was for 2 years in relation to the sexual assault.

Appeal against finding dismissed; appeal against sanction allowed in part

Bibi v Bar Standards Board – 13 April 2022

A barrister appealed against a Disciplinary Tribunal’s findings of professional misconduct relating to her criminal conviction for an offence under the Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Detection of Fraud and Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2013, regulation 8(1) and related conduct which the Tribunal found could reasonably be seen by the public to undermine her honesty and integrity. The High Court rejected the barrister’s arguments, which included that the Tribunal should have stayed proceedings pending the outcome of her application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, that the Tribunal made errors as to the admission of evidence, and that the Tribunal lacked jurisdiction to hear the proceedings.

Appeal dismissed

Kearney v Bar Standards Board  24 January 2022

A barrister appealed against the Disciplinary Tribunal's finding that he had committed professional misconduct towards a mini-pupil, as well as the Tribunal's decision not to stay the proceedings in light of alleged procedural flaws and the amount of time which passed before the misconduct was reported to the BSB. The barrister also appealed against the sanction imposed. The Court held that the Tribunal's refusal of the barrister's application for a stay was not wrong, there was no error in its approach which led to the finding against the barrister, and there was no reason for the Court to interfere with the sanction imposed by the Tribunal. 

Appeal dismissed 

Ukiwa v Bar Standards Board – 22 October 2021

A barrister appealed against the Disciplinary Tribunal’s finding that he had deliberately misstated his wife’s address during divorce proceedings, so that a person who was not his wife could receive the papers and return an acknowledgement of service purporting to be signed by her, to assist the barrister in fraudulently obtaining a divorce. The Court held that there had been no procedural impropriety caused by the Tribunal considering all of the evidence before it, rather than merely relying upon the findings of the judge who had ordered the divorce decrees to be set aside.

Appeal dismissed

Hewson v Bar Standards Board - 8 January 2021

A barrister appealed against the sanction of two years’ suspension for grossly offensive and disparaging tweets about another barrister, arguing that it was excessive in light of her terminal illness. The Court reduced the duration of her suspension to one year, so she would not be suspended at the time of her death.

Appeal allowed, sanction reduced

AB v Bar Standards Board - 10 December 2020

A barrister appealed against the Disciplinary Tribunal’s findings of professional misconduct for misleading the court and making persistent without-merit applications as a litigant in family proceedings. The Court upheld the Tribunal’s findings on three out of four charges and upheld the sanctions imposed for those charges.

Appeal dismissed in relation to three out of four charges, but allowed on the ground of insufficient evidence in relation to one charge only

Hendron v Bar Standards Board – 2 June 2020

A barrister appealed a Tribunal’s finding of misconduct for failing to comply with a decision of the Legal Ombudsman. Due to a lacuna in the statutory and regulatory scheme regarding unregistered barristers, the appeal was successful. The court declined to order remittal.

Appeal upheld

Diggins v Bar Standards Board – 28 February 2020

A barrister appealed a Tribunal’s finding of professional misconduct on the basis his participation on Twitter was an aspect of his private life which falls outside the scope of professional regulation and the BSB’s prosecution was an interference with his Article 8 right to a private life and Article 10 right to free speech.

Appeal dismissed.

Shrimpton v Bar Standards Board- 8 April 2019 

Appeal against finding: previous criminal convictions

The Tribunal had not erred in finding that a criminal conviction is conclusive proof that conduct occurred unless there are exceptional circumstances. The Tribunal was correct to find that there were no exceptional circumstances in this case.

Appeal dismissed. 

Dorairaj v Bar Standards Board - 19 October 2018

Appeal against finding: jurisdiction of the Tribunal

A barrister appealed a finding of misconduct on the grounds that the case had been referred to a five person panel when it should have been referred to a three person panel. This procedural defect did not deprive the panel of jurisdiction.

Appeal dismissed 

Khan v Bar Standards Board - 24 August 2018

Appeal against finding of misconduct: seriousness of conduct

A barrister who broadcast allegations against a colleague in the Court robing room unsuccessfully appealed the Tribunal's finding of misconduct on the grounds that his guilty plea had been based on bad advice, and that his conduct was not sufficiently serious to constitute misconduct. Argued that the sanction was excessive.

Appeal against finding dismissed, appeal against sanction successful

Obi-Ezekpazu v Bar Standards Board - 17 July 2018

Appeal against finding of misconduct: failure to co-operate with another regulator

An unsuccessful appeal against the Tribunal's decision that a barrister had committed misconduct by not complying with a direction of the Legal Ombudsman. 

Appeal dismissed

Headlam v Bar Standards Board - 7 June 2018

Appeal against sentence.

A barrister appealed against his suspension from practice 6 month suspension for misconduct arising from improper financial dealings with a client. The Court found that the sentence was disproportionate: the barrister was vulnerable and had been manipulated.

Appeal allowed: fine of £5000 substituted

Partially upheld: appeal against finding of misconduct dismissed; 9 month suspension reduced to 3 months.

Godfrey v Bar Standards Board - 8 June 2018

Appeal against Tribunal finding of misconduct: behaviour during a criminal trial.

Unsuccessful appeal by a barrister against a finding of misconduct arising from statements he made about the victim during an appeal against his client's sentence for a sexual offence.

Appeal Dismissed

O'Connor v Bar Standards Board - 6 December 2017

Limitation period - Human Rights Act 1998

Barrister successfully appealed in relation to a decision that her claim of discrimination against the BSB was time-barred. The Supreme Court considered that the decision of the BSB to defend an appeal against a disciplinary finding was not a new act, but a continuation of the original prosecution of disciplinary proceedings, and that the claim was therefore made in time. 

Appeal allowed. 

Bar Standards Board v Crawford - 4 December 2017

Unduly lenient sanction

BSB appeal against sanction. Grounds: Sanction inconsistent with established legal principles; the Tribunal erred in the exercise of discretion; and the sanction was, in all the circumstances, unduly lenient.

Appeal dismissed. Costs awarded against BSB.

McCarthy v BSB - 2 May 2017

Bias - undue influence - misdirection on sentence 

Appeal against finding and sentence of a case remitted following an appeal to the Court of Appeal. Grounds: 

(1) Bias - both actual and apparent alleged against the Chair of the Disciplinary Tribunal in 2016;

(2)  Undue influence - on the Panel by a Press release from the BSB, allegedly rendering the Panel unable to make a fair decision; and  

(3) Misdirection on sentence - in not being provided by either side with previous disciplinary findings in other cases of dishonesty which did not lead to disbarment; in not being referred to relevant case law (SRA v Sharma [2010] EWHC 2022); and in not taking into account length of time spent on suspension due to BSB conduct.

Appeal dismissed against both finding and sentence.

Howd v BSB  - 14 February 2017

Seriousness of conduct - honesty and integrity - medical evidence

Appeal against finding, BSB cross-appeal against sentence (grounds: too lenient).

Grounds: Conduct did not amount to professional misconduct in light of medical evidence. 

Appeal allowed, cross-appeal dismissed. Costs awarded against BSB.

Smith v BSB  - 3 November 2016  

Competence - failure to call witness - hearsay evidence

Appeal against finding.

Grounds: Smith did not receive a fair hearing due to BSB's failure to call a key witness and to obtain an independent witness statement, and that the finding was factually erroneous.

Appeal allowed, costs awarded against BSB.

Rehman v The Bar Standards Board (2) - 29 July 2016

Alleged Frauds and Conspiracies - Extended Civil Restraint Order

Appeal against findings of two disciplinary tribunals.

Grounds: various wide-ranging systemic failures, frauds and conspiracies, sought recusal.

Appeals dismissed. The Court made a two year extended civil restraint order against Mr Rehman.

O'Connor v Bar Standards Board (3) - 25 July 2016 

Human Rights Act - discrimination -continuing act - limitation

Appeal of the 2014 decision (see below) on the question of whether O'Connor's claim in discrimination (alleging breach of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights) was time-barred.

Grounds: that the time limit ran as a continuing act from the commencement of disciplinary proceedings until the appeal against these was upheld.

Appeal dismissed.

BSB v Disciplinary Tribunal of the Council of the Inns of Court and Sivanandan - 24 May 2016

Costs in professional disciplinary proceedings - jurisdiction of Administrative Court on Judicial Review.

Appeal of BSB's judicial review of tribunal cost assessor's decision, which had succeeded on the grounds of the cost assessor's failure to have exercised independent discretion.

Grounds: no Divisional Court jurisdiction to fix the costs hourly rate, error of law.

Appeal dismissed, except on the issue of the Divisional Court's jurisdiction to fix the hourly rate, which was for the tribunal to fix.

Mehey v BSB - 10 July 2015

Application to adjourn on health grounds - proceeding in absence

Appeals against three findings and sentences.

As well as pursuing various grounds of appeal, Mr Mehey applied for an adjournment of his appeal on health grounds, which application was refused.

Appeals dismissed except for one appeal against sentence, which was allowed. 

R (on the application of Prescott) v General Council of the Bar - 7 July 2015

Bar Professional Training Course - Re-sits - Competency - Discretion - Proportionality - European Convention on Human Rights - Reasons

Challenge to BSB's refusal to permit Prescott to retake a discrete part of the Bar Professional Training Course.

Grounds: error of law, failure to exercise discretion, breach of duty not to act disproportionately, breach of article 8 European Convention of Human Rights, failure to provide reasons.

Review dismissed.

McCarthy v Visitors to the Inns of Court and BSB (2) - 20 January 2015

Public access - Rule 6 letters - Procedural unfairness - disclosure of evidence

Appeal of an appeal of a judicial review of a decision.

Grounds: BSB unfairness and breach of rules in failing to disclose a principal witness statement. 

Appeal allowed, decision quashed and matter remitted for rehearing.

O'Connor v BSB (2) - 18 December 2014 

Human Rights Act - discrimination - right to a fair trial 

Appeal against an order striking out the appellant's claims.

Appellant was seeking damages under the Human Rights Act 1998 (for alleged violations of her human rights under Articles 6 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights) following her 2012 acquittal on appeal (see below) and the dismissal of two other professional misconduct charges.

Appeal partially allowed, claim for indirect discrimination reinstated but then barred on limitation grounds.

Mehey, Hayes, Russell v Visitors to the Inns of Court v BSB - 16 December 2014

Tribunal composition - members not properly appointed from pool

Applications for permission to appeal the Divisional Court's refusal of applications for Judicial Review.

Grounds: that the disciplinary proceedings were invalid due to the disqualification of members sitting on the tribunal panel.

Permission refused.

Norton v BSB - 31 July 2014

Proceeding in absence - application for adjournment

Appeal against finding.

Grounds: that the tribunal was wrong to proceed in Norton's absence and to refuse his application for an adjournment, when it had not properly considered the relevant regulation nor the case ofR v (Anthony) Jones2002 UKHL.

Appeal allowed, remitted to a fresh tribunal. 

Conlon, Gordon & Williams v BSB - 4 July 2014

Visitors composition - Tribunal composition - pupillage applications - delegation of responsibility - costs -Baxendale-Walker

Three joined appeals against findings.

Grounds: composition of Visitors, composition of tribunal, reasonable steps in delegating responsibilities to head of pupillage.

W & G - appeal allowed, W awarded costs against BSB. C - appeal dismissed.  

BSB v O'Riordan [2014] - 28 February 2014

Dishonesty - Appeal against sentence by the BSB - fresh evidence of dishonest mitigation

BSB appeal against sentence of three year sentence.

Grounds: new evidence that O'Riorgan had been dishonest in his mitigation put forward to the tribunal. 

Appeal allowed, disbarment substituted.

Craven v BSB- 30 January 2014

Appeal against finding - bringing bar into disrepute - sending offensive emails - public or private - Articles 8 and 10 ECHR

Appeal against finding.

Grounds: that the email was private and not likely to bring the profession into disrepute and that the finding interfered with Craven's right to a private life and freedom of expression under Articles 8 and 10 ECHR.

Appeal dismissed.

Evans v BSB - 16 December 2013

Professional embarrassment - "knowingly" accepted instructions -mens rea- seriousness - remorse

Appeal against finding and sentence.

Grounds: barristers are required to have actual knowledge that a firm of solicitors had been named in a Withdrawal of Credit Direction to breach this part of the Code, and that appellant had demonstrated remorse.

Appeal against decision dismissed, appeal against sentence upheld and reprimand substituted.

Walker v BSB - 19 September 2013

Seriousness-professional misconduct- cross-examination

Appeal against finding.

Grounds: conduct not so serious to characterise as professional misconduct.

Appeal allowed.    

Rehman v BSB - 19 July 2013

Discreditable conduct - compliance with County Court judgment

Appeal against finding.

Alleged that failing to comply with a County Court judgment was not discreditable to a barrister and that, in any event, he had complied.

Appeal dismissed.

Ahmed v BSB - 14 June 2013

Professional misconduct - imprisoned appellant - disbarment - ultra vires - costs - undue hardship - mitigation - guilty plea

Appeal against finding and costs award.

Grounds: sentence beyond Tribunal's powers, costs order would cause undue hardship, guilty plea not taken into account, inaccurate characterisation of offending by the Tribunal.

Appeal dismissed.

Russell v BSB - 23 May 2013 (Russell 2)

Refusal of tribunal to make debarring order - permitting respondent to reopen its case - composition of tribunals - apparent bias  - lack of independence and impartiality

Appeal against finding.

Grounds: erroneous decision to refuse making a debarring order to prevent the BSB's relying upon the evidence of a witness and to permit the BSB to reopen its case, also challenged the appointment of the tribunal members and alleged that the tribunal lay members were tainted by apparent bias and/or were not independent.

Appeal dismissed.    

Ashiq v BSB - 27 March 2013

Conduct likely to diminish public confidence or bring profession into disrepute - failure to pay debtors - duty to respond to BSB - refusal to provide bank documents to BSB - adverse inference - burden of proof

Appeal against finding and sentence.

Alleged error of law in reversing burden of proof by making adverse inferences in relation to appellant's refusal to provide relevant evidence, namely redacted bank statements.

Appeal dismissed.

Quinn v BSB   - 25 February 2013

Dishonest or discreditable conduct - prejudicial to administration of justice - reasons - costs -Baxendale-Walker

Appeal against finding and sentence.

Alleged Tribunal had given inadequate reasons in its decision, particularly with regards significant documentary evidence.Baxendale-Walkercosts pursued.

Appeal allowed, costs awarded against BSB.

Panesar v BSB - 14 December 2012 

Failure to comply with Tribunal order -constitution of tribunals- de facto authority

Appeal against finding and sentence.

Grounds: that a tribunal Panel member's membership was time-expired and that they were disqualified by virtue of being a non-practising barrister.

Appeal dismissed.

O'Connor v BSB (1) - 17 August 2012

Conducting litigation - signing statement of truth - CPR - sending correspondence

Appeal against finding.

Grounds: signing a statement of truth and sending documents to the other side's solicitors did not amounting to "conduct of litigation".

Appeal allowed.

Russell v BSB   (Russell 1) - 12 July 2012

Constitution of tribunals -nomination of tribunal member - de facto authority

Appeal against finding.

Grounds: flawed appointment of one tribunal member.  

Appeal dismissed.

McCarthy v BSB (1) - 24/25 January 2012 

Direct Access - forged client care letters - natural justice - withholding evidence

Appeal against finding and sentence.

Alleged serious procedural error in BSB withholding statement, wrong burden of proof applied, failure to make necessary findings and/or give adequate reasons.

Appeal dismissed.

Leathley v BSB - 20 January 2012

Discreditable conduct - apparent bias of lay tribunal members - challenge to appointment of Judicial Visitor- training/guidance to panel members by regulator does not give rise toan appearance of bias  

Appeal against finding.

Grounds: bias of lay members of tribunal as their fees and expenses came from the BSB, guidance pack for tribunal prepared by BSB contained 'subliminal messages', conduct proved at tribunal was not conduct for which he should be held responsible as he was not acting as a barrister, recusal of Judicial Visitor sought.

Appeal dismissed.