21 August 2019

Barristers disbarred for repeatedly refusing to pay thousands of pounds in fines and costs

12 November 2014

Two public disciplinary tribunals have each ordered the disbarment of two barristers for repeatedly refusing to pay almost £12,000 in fines and costs between them.

The independent panel found that barrister Stephen Desmond Hourigan had failed to comply in due time with a previous sentence - imposed by a disciplinary tribunal on 30 September 2013 - which ordered him to pay a fine of £1,000.

Mr Hourigan, who has been referred to four tribunals in as many years, continues to owe almost £9,000 in outstanding fines and costs. The panel, chaired by HHJ Stuart Sleeman, heard that he declined to provide information promptly to the Bar Standards Board (BSB) when required to do so.

A second, separate tribunal found that barrister Martin Vose also failed to pay fines and costs totalling £1,394, despite being ordered to do so by a disciplinary tribunal in June 2011. Like Mr Hourigan, Mr Vose did not respond to requests from the BSB for comments or information on a complaint.

The panel, also chaired by HHJ Sleeman, heard that in March 2010 an initial tribunal suspended Mr Vose until he had paid an earlier fine of £1,112 - a sum still outstanding - bringing the total amount he owes to nearly £3,000.

In both instances HHJ Sleeman ordered Mr Hourigan and Mr Vose to be disbarred.

Director of the Bar Standards Board's Professional Conduct Department, Sara Jagger, said: "Both Mr Hourigan and Mr Vose repeatedly refused to comply with the orders of a number of independent tribunals and ignored our attempts to try to engage with each of them on these matters. They have made it very clear that they have no regard for the regulatory process, which is there to protect the public. We are content that both panels made absolutely the right decision in these cases."

The hearings took place on 5 November 2014. Neither barrister attended.

For more information, please click here and here.


Notes to editors

About Stephen Desmond Hourigan and Martin Vose
Mr Hourigan was Called to the Bar by Middle Temple in October 1998. Mr Vose was Called to the Bar by Inner Temple, July 1983.

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 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

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