Statement: 22 November 2022
The Bar Standards Board is aware of interest in the case in which Dinah Rose KC acted for the Cayman Islands Government before the Privy Council in 2021.
In view of this interest, the BSB would like to make clear that:
- The Bar Standards Board has taken no regulatory action against Dinah Rose KC, and has made no ruling against her. We apologise to Ms Rose if this has not been made sufficiently clear.
- Irrespective of the detailed provisions of the cab rank rule, the Bar Code of Conduct provides at rule rC28 that a barrister must not withhold their services on the grounds that the nature of the case or the conduct or opinions of the client are objectionable or unacceptable.
- Ms Rose was correct to act in accordance with her obligations under rC28 when deciding whether to accept the instructions. Criticism of Ms Rose for taking on this case is, accordingly, misplaced.
- In considering the specific issue of whether Dinah Rose KC had committed potential professional misconduct in stating that she was obliged by the “cab rank rule” to accept a brief on behalf of the Cayman Islands Government, the BSB concluded that it did not see any evidence that supported a contention that Miss Rose knowingly misled or attempted to mislead anyone in her public statement. Nor was there evidence that she was reckless in doing so and the BSB’s view of the statement was that it was careful in its content and tone.
- The letter quoted in The Times did not include any discussion of rC28, as the report received referred to another rule in the Handbook. The BSB accepts that both are relevant. In any event the BSB did not find Ms Rose to have been “reckless” or to have acted inappropriately. The BSB accepts that, before reviewing its original decision and in the circumstances of this case, it would have been appropriate to have invited Ms Rose to comment on the review. It apologises to Ms Rose for its failure to do so, and has commenced a review of its processes for the future.
- The BSB wishes to stress the importance to the administration of justice of an independent Bar, willing to take controversial or unpopular cases. Barristers are not to be identified with the views of their clients. It is wholly unacceptable for barristers to be subject to abuse or harassment for carrying out their professional duty to act in unpopular cases, regardless of their personal views. Barristers who do so are acting in accordance with the ethical standards of the Bar, and are essential to the functioning of the justice system.
Notes to editors
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