25 February 2018

Non-practising barrister convicted of assault and fraud ordered to be disbarred from the profession

24 March 2015

An independent public disciplinary tribunal has ordered the disbarment of a barrister who had previous criminal convictions for fraud; a string of assault-related offences, including assaulting two police officers; and using threatening words and behaviour.

Sitting yesterday on 23 March 2015 the five person panel, chaired by Her Honour Suzan Matthews QC, heard how Ms Frances Louise Brough had been convicted of a number of serious criminal offences between August and October 2013.

These included assaulting her neighbours and using threatening words and behaviour; assaulting two members of her family - her parents; and two counts of assaulting a police officer, as well as breaching a non-molestation order.

As a result of these convictions, she was, on 22 November 2013, sentenced by Newcastle Upon Tyne Crown Court to a Community Order for three years and required to be supervised by the probation service for 18 months.

Later that year, on 3 December 2013, Ms Brough was convicted at Southwark Crown Court of fraud. On 2 April 2014, she was sentenced to 15 months of imprisonment - a sentence which was suspended for two years - and to pay a victim surcharge of £100. The victim was the Law Society.

A former practising solicitor, Ms Brough was called to bar in 2005 but never practised as she had not completed pupillage - the final stage of a barrister's training. However, commenting on the sentence, the barristers' regulator, the Bar Standards Board (BSB), which prosecuted Ms Brough at the disciplinary tribunal, said she could no longer remain a member of the profession.

Director of Professional Conduct for the BSB, Sara Jagger, said: "While Ms Brough did not practise as a barrister, it is clearly not appropriate that she remain a member of the Bar. The panel's decision to disbar her is absolutely the right one."

The BSB's rules dictate that all individuals who are called to the Bar must act in accordance with the BSB Handbook and barristers' Code of Conduct. The tribunal heard that, contrary to the Code of Conduct, Ms Brough had also failed to promptly report these convictions to the BSB. She was also found to have engaged in conduct discreditable to a barrister by failing to pay a fine of £350, imposed on her by a previous tribunal on 30 April 2013.

Ms Brough did not attend the hearing.

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ENDS

Notes to editors

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.