27 Feb 2023

Unregistered barrister James Stephen Preece was ordered to be disbarred and suspended with immediate effect by an independent disciplinary tribunal which concluded on 22 February 2023 following charges of professional misconduct brought by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). Mr Preece was called to the Bar in 2017 but did not complete pupillage and is not entitled to practise as a barrister. 

A number of charges were made against Mr Preece by the BSB, all relating to the appearance of Mr Preece in the Central Family Court on 13 September 2019 when making an ex parte application to a Deputy District Judge. The charges concerned both his ability to appear in front of court as a barrister advocate and also the content of the statements he made during the hearing. 

The tribunal found that Mr Preece failed to comply with his legal and regulatory obligations as he misled the court as to his professional status when he presented himself as a criminal barrister representing his client when he was not authorised to do so.   The tribunal found that Mr Preece therefore behaved in a way which was likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in him or in the profession and which could reasonably be seen by the public to undermine his integrity.

The tribunal also found that Mr Preece made a range of incorrect and reckless statements to the court which Mr Preece knew were untrue or misleading.  In doing so, the tribunal considered that he acted dishonestly, had abused his role as an advocate and had failed to observe his duty to the court in the administration of justice.  

The charges against Mr Preece were found proven by a tribunal in December 2022 but sanction was deferred to allow for mitigation to be presented.  No mitigation was forthcoming and Mr Preece did not attend the hearing on 22 February 2023.  The sanction was imposed in his absence. 

Commenting on the order, a BSB spokesperson said: “The tribunal’s decision to disbar Mr Preece reflects the seriousness of the charges against him. Mr Preece presented himself to the court as a practising criminal barrister with full rights to appear in front of the court, when that was not the case.  He also knowingly made a series of misleading, incorrect and dishonest statements to the court.  Such conduct is entirely incompatible with holding the title of barrister as indicated by the tribunal’s decision to disbar Mr Preece.”


Notes to editors

About James Stephen Preece

James Stephen Preece was called to the Bar of England and Wales by Middle Temple in 2017. Mr Preece did not complete pupillage and does not hold authorisation to practise.

Please note that James STEPHEN Preece (mentioned above) should NOT be confused with James CHRISTOPHER Preece (who is a practising barrister at 18 St John Street Chambers in Manchester).

About disciplinary tribunals

The Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS) is responsible for appointing and administering Disciplinary Tribunals on behalf of the President of the Council of the Inns of Court and its tribunals are independent of the BSB. The BSB is responsible for bringing charges of professional misconduct against barristers, which BTAS tribunal panels then adjudicate. The sanctions imposed are a matter for the tribunal having regard to the facts of the individual case and the BTAS Sanctions Guidance.

About the Bar Standards Board

Our mission is to regulate barristers and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t

Contact: For all media enquiries call: 07432 713 328 or email [email protected].

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