24 February 2018

Barrister to be disbarred for failing to disclose criminal convictions prior to being Called to the Bar

30 October 2015

An independent disciplinary tribunal earlier this week ordered the disbarment of barrister, Mr Martin Christie.

This decision followed the Bar Standards Board (BSB) taking enforcement action against Mr Christie.  Mr Christie applied to become a member of Gray's Inn in 1999 and was Called to the Bar in 2003.  Prior to both of those events, Mr Christie made false declarations about his criminal convictions. 

In 1999, when applying for student membership of Gray's Inn, he disclosed two of his earlier convictions but failed to disclose seven other convictions dating back to 1968.

In 2001, Mr Christie pleaded guilty to an offence of forgery in Chester Crown Court, for which he was given a conditional discharge for two years and ordered to pay costs of £290. When applying for admission to the Bar in 2003, he failed additionally to disclose the 2001 offence.

The disciplinary tribunal considered that because Mr Christie's actions amounted to dishonesty, they were discreditable to and incompatible with the status of a barrister.

Director of Professional Conduct for the BSB Sara Jagger said, "The public have a right to expect barristers to be honest and act with integrity, and the BSB expects all barristers to be open and honest with their regulator and their Inn. Mr Christie failed to do          this when going through the process of becoming a barrister. Sometimes barristers with minor or historic convictions may be permitted to enter the profession, but Mr Christie acted dishonestly when he failed to declare the full extent of his convictions. It is therefore right that the tribunal decided that disbarment was the most appropriate sanction."

ENDS

Notes to editors

About Martin Christie

Mr Martin Christie was Called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in April 2003.

About the Bar Standards Board

Our mission is to regulate the Bar so as to promote high standards of practice and safeguard clients and the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t

About disciplinary tribunals

The appointment, operation, and decisions (including sentencing) of disciplinary tribunal panels are performed by the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS). BTAS is run independently of the Bar Standards Board - the barristers' regulator - which is responsible for bringing charges of professional misconduct against barristers. These charges are then adjudicated on by BTAS' tribunal panels.

About being Called to the Bar

The Inns of Court - and not the Bar Standards Board - are responsible for considering applications and for Calling barristers to the Bar. Anyone applying has to make a full, honest and complete declaration about any prior criminal convictions. 

Contact: For all media enquiries call: 0207 611 1452 or emailpress@barstandardsboard.org.uk .