Disciplinary findings

This section of the website provides details of all publishable findings and sentences imposed by Disciplinary Tribunals since 2002.

Details of findings and sentences, including the identity of the barrister concerned, are published in accordance with the BSB's Publications Policy, which you can find on the right hand side of this page. In summary, all findings will be removed from the website after 2 years, unless the finding of the Disciplinary Tribunal involves a suspension or disbarment. In these cases, the finding will be posted on the website indefinitely. 

However, a barrister's full disciplinary record, which can include findings made before 2002, can be obtained by contacting the Professional Conduct Department directly on 0207 611 1444.  

You can use the facility below to search by name of barrister (last name), month and/or year, sentence (whether disbarred, suspended or other sentence), type of hearing (whether  visitors hearing (appeal) or disciplinary tribunal), and type of offence (keyword search).

Each set of findings is accorded a status on the following basis:

  • Open to Appeal - The case is within the period that a barrister can appeal the finding but no appeal has been submitted;
  • Appeal Pending - Sentence Stayed / Appeal Pending - The barrister has submitted an appeal, which is yet to be heard. Unless the Disciplinary Tribunal has ordered that the sentence should take effect immediately (Appeal Pending), the sentence will not be implemented until after the outcome of the appeal is known (Appeal Pending - Sentence Stayed).
  • Final - The finding has been pronounced either after the appeal period has expired or following the result of an appeal.

New findings are posted within seven days of a decision, although it can take up to 24 hours for the finding to appear on the website following its posting (or for a finding to not show on the website following its removal). More detailed information about individual cases can be obtained from our Investigations and Hearings Team on 020 7611 1444.

Users are reminded that the present practising status of any barrister should be confirmed with our Records Department on 020 7242 0934.

 

Disciplinary Finding Details

Name:
David Harris
Barrister Status:
Disbarred
Called:
Type of hearing / finding:
Disciplinary Tribunal (5 person)
Date of decision:
26 January 2012

In breach of

Paragraphs 301(a)(iii), 302, 603(d) and 901.7 of the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales (8th Edition)

Details of Offence

Charge 1 - David Harris, being a barrister, on or before the 8th February 2010, engaged in conduct which was likely to diminish public confidence in the administration of justice or otherwise bring the legal profession into disrepute in that he, having in his private capacity promoted and participated in the activities of Newzbin Limited, accepted public access instructions to appear and appeared as counsel for Newzbin Limited in the matter of T and Others v Newzbin Limited where the issue was the legality of the activities of Newzbin Limited.

Charge 2 - David Harris, being a barrister, on or before the 8th February 2010, engaged in conduct which was likely to diminish public confidence in the administration of justice or otherwise bring the legal profession into disrepute in that he accepted public access instructions to appear and appeared as counsel for Newzbin Limited in the matter of T and Others v Newzbin Limited, Newzbin Limited being a company in which he held 100% of the issued share capital.

Charge 3 - David Harris, being a barrister, on or before the 8th February 2010, accepted public access instructions to appear and appeared as counsel for Newzbin Limited in the matter of T and Others v Newzbin Limited, in circumstances where, by reason of his connection with Newzbin Limited, it would be difficult for him to maintain professional independence or the administration of justice might be or appear to be prejudiced.

Charge 4 - David Harris, being a barrister, on or before the 8th February 2010, accepted public access instructions to appear and appeared as counsel for Newzbin Limited in the matter of T and Others v Newzbin Limited, in circumstances where, by reason of his connection with Newzbin Limited, he had reason to believe that he was likely to be a witness.

Charge 5 - David Harris, being a barrister, on the 8th February 2010, while appearing as counsel for Newzbin Limited in the matter of T and Others v Newzbin Limited in the Chancery Division of the High Court, deceived or knowingly or recklessly misled the Court in that he told the Court that he held 100% of the shares in the company on behalf of another person (when in fact he held them for his own benefit) and that he did not know if he had a significant pecuniary interest in the company (when in fact he knew he had a significant pecuniary interest in the company because he had bought 100% of the company’s issued share capital for a substantial purchase price in December 2009).

Charge 6 - David Harris, being a barrister, between the 25th January 2010 and the 2nd March 2010, engaged in conduct which was likely to diminish public confidence in the legal profession or the administration of justice or otherwise bring the legal profession into disrepute in that he, having accepted public access instructions to appear as counsel in the matter of T and Others v Newzbin Limited in the Chancery Division of the High Court, via the internet site “Twitter” and using the pseudonym “Geeklawyer”, in connection with the trial in that matter, issued the messages listed in Appendix 1.

Appendix 1.

SCHEDULE OF “TWEETS” RELATING TO CHARGE 6

1. I like to think of orders of the court as gentle hints of preferred behaviour. [@HowardMCheng, 25th January 2010 at 13:30; ex. […], no 340]

2. Ooooh I kinda misread the claim. That’s bad. [26th January 2010 at 03:22; ex. […], no 322]

3. IF this settles now I am going to have a frickin’ tantrum. [@nipclaw, 26th January 2010 at 04:01; ex. […], no 316]

4. BSkyB v EDS. Nice to see Herbert Smith win a case for once: http://tinyurl.com/ylavr8v I did them up the arse a while back ;) [26th January 2010 at 09:33; ex. […], no 292]

5. genius. Have cut n pasted that into the conclusion [@johnhalton, 28th January 2010 at 04:10; ex. […], no 213]

6. will statple a couple of £50 notes to skeleton when I hand it up to the judge. [@johnhalton, 28th January 2010 at 04:10; ex. […], no 212]

7. bribery. I ask the judge to indict my client for stapling £50 notes to my skeleton when I want looking. Express horror and outrage. [@johnhalton, 28th January 2010 at 04:14; ex. […], no 211]

8. then bill client for disbursement to the judge + my uplift [@johnhalton, 28th January 2010 at 04:15; ex. […], no 210]

9. Bugger judges chancery division hassling me for my skeleton. Trial is on for monday. damn. [29th January 2010 at 03:09; ex. […], no 159]

10. encouraged the other sides expert witness doesnt understand our system: I have have played a part in this. FTW!!! :) [29th January 2010 at 15:42; ex. […], no 135]

11. oops. Looks like I admitted something I should have denied. Oh. Dear. Me. :( Gonna catch it in the neck for that) [30th January 2010 at 07:59; ex. […], no 125]

12. wondering if I can resile from “yea we are as guilty as sin, fuck me they are entirely right” [@lilianedwards, 30th January 2010 at 09:20; ex. […], no 121]

13. wondering if I can hire a hooker for the judge or rent-boy. Oooh. How do I find out his preference? Could just ask I guess [@Markystewart, 30th January 2010 at 09:54; ex. […], no 119]

14. I did my cross examination of expert yesterday. Bugger wouldnt cooperate but I had him. [@Charonqc, 2nd February 2010 at 00:52; ex. […], no 106]

15. I will try for ‘anilingus’ as word of the day. Triple word score and a bonus if it’s mentioned in the law reports? [@HowardMCheng, 2nd February 2010 at 00:53; ex. […], no 105]

16. left robes in hotel once, Judge permitted me to appear unwigged, he invited other barrister to appear likewise: prick refused [@nipclaw, 5th February 2010 at 16:20; ex. […], no 80]

17. I was: now far too hungover to tweet. Plus, I need to write closing speech [@CathyGellis, 7th February 2010 at 00:12; ex. […], no 63]

18. ooooh, Dont talk to me about breakfast am muchly hungover. That Lex made me drink lots of alcohol, the dirty rat [@_Poots_, 7th February 2010 at 00:35; ex. […], no 61]

19. I have to write a closing speech in one day for a super huge important case. *that’s* hardship [@_Poots_, 7th February 2010 at 00:39; ex. […], no 58]

Sentence:
Charges 1,2,3,4 & 5 – Disbarred Charge 6 – Fined £2500
Costs:
£1,186.00
Status:
Final