25 February 2018

Barrister to be disbarred for misleading client about status of immigration documents

4 December 2014

An independent public disciplinary tribunal has ordered the disbarment of a barrister after it emerged that he had lied to his client about submitting to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) an application - on behalf of his client's mother-in-law - for discretionary leave to remain in the UK. She was later deported to China.

The panel heard that Mr Michael William Wainwright engaged in conduct that was dishonest, after he informed his client that he had submitted the application form so it would reach the UKBA before the end of 2011.

He later indicated to his client that he had submitted the application in early January 2012. The application was not actually submitted until March 2012 - long after the date by which the client could appeal the decision by UKBA to refuse his mother-in-law leave to remain in the country.

The panel also found that Mr Wainwright had worked with the same lay client directly - as a public access barrister - despite not being properly qualified to do so, as he had not completed the appropriate training and registered as a public access practitioner.

Director of Professional Conduct for the Bar Standards Board, Sara Jagger, said: "The trust and confidence the public places in barristers - and the reputation of the Bar - depends on barristers behaving with integrity and honesty. Mr Wainwright clearly failed to act in the best interests of his clients, acted dishonestly, and failed to abide by the rules for working with clients directly - all with serious consequence.

"Our concerns about his behaviour led to Mr Wainwright being suspended, on an interim basis, prior to the tribunal's verdict. The panel's decision to effectively make this suspension permanent by disbarring Mr Wainwright from the profession means the public is better protected as a result of our regulatory action."

Mr Wainwright was suspended from the Bar for 28 days in March 2013 after a previous hearing found he had misled an immigration tribunal when he informed them that his lateness in attending the tribunal was caused by an accidental injury to his son, when it was, in fact, due to him representing another client at a different tribunal elsewhere at the same time.

The hearing, chaired by HHJ Michael Baker QC, took place on 3 December 2014. For more information, click here.

ENDS

Notes to editors

About Mr Michael William Wainwright
Mr Michael Wainwright was Called to the Bar by Lincoln's Inn in November 2008.

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.

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