The High Court in England and Wales, in a judgment handed down on 15 May 2015, dismissed an appeal brought by Mr Sukul against a decision of the Bar Standards Board to disbar him in circumstances where he had been found guilty of professional misconduct. Mr Sukul had been the subject of an Inquiry before the Bar Standards Board in respect of allegations that he Mr Sukul created a document entitled "Application to appeal against conviction" that was false and he knew was false, with the intention of misleading a former lay client into believing he had grounds to appeal his conviction for drug offences when he knew that there were no grounds of appeal.
Mr Sukul appealed the decision of the Bar Standards Board based on the following three grounds, which were all dismissed by the Court of Appeal:
- There was no sufficient evidence to support a finding of dishonesty;
- The tribunal erred in law and in fact in finding that there has been a breach of trust by the appellant;
- The sanction of disbarment was disproportionate.
This was an interesting case as the Court of Appeal confirmed that even where dishonesty had not been expressly pleaded this did not vitiate the panel’s findings of dishonesty. The Court held that the panel had made it clear that they considered Mr Sukul’s actions to be dishonest and Mr Sukul was therefore on notice of the dishonesty element of the Inquiry.
For the full judgment please follow this link: Sukul v Bar Standards Board 2015To subscribe to our blog please click here.
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