22 September 2019

Conflict of Interest

Complainant A was the victim of an assault. Barrister B represented the Defendant at the trial.  When A was called to give evidence, he recognised B as someone he had met several times during his previous employment.  Further enquiries were made by the Court and B sought advice on her position from the Bar Council's Ethics helpline. 

It was decided that it was not necessary for B to withdraw from the case and A complained to the Bar Standards Board as a result. The complaint was dismissed without investigation because it did not disclose a breach of the BSB Handbook: the matter had been considered in depth at Court, A had been advised by the Ethics helpline that she could continue with the case and there was no evidence to suggest that B's independence was compromised.