Two Littleton barristers, David Reade QC and Chris Quinn, have successfully secured the overturning of an Order made by
the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Inns of Court disbarring a barrister. It is
believed to be the first time that such an appeal has succeeded in the Court of
The barrister, Damian McCarthy of
Cloisters, had been struck off by the Tribunal (where he was not represented by
either David or Chris) upon a finding that he had claimed to have sent a number
of so-called “Rule 6” letters to his client when he had not in fact done so.
Rule 6 letters refer to a requirement of the Public Access Rules which regulate
how a barrister can act on a direct access basis for a client.
Upon their initial instruction in the case
by Patrick Gaul and Barbara Flannery of Weightmans LLP, Chris discovered a
reference to a draft witness statement that had apparently been in the
possession of the Bar Standards Board (being the body responsible for
prosecuting such cases) which had not been disclosed to Mr McCarthy’s then
legal team. They complained that this non-disclosure had led to such unfairness
that the decision below should be quashed.
Following an unsuccessful appeal to the
Board of Visitors and then a judicial review, Chris and David then took the
case to the Court of Appeal [Burnett LJ, Newey J and Dame Janet Smith DBE]
where Burnett LJ described a later statement from the same individual which the
BSB had decided to rely upon as being “an amalgam of evidence properly
so-called, comment and argument intended to demolish Counsel’s defence to the
charges, rather than to provide unvarnished evidence”. He then said of the
failure to disclose the earlier statement to Mr McCarthy’s legal team:
“What happened was extraordinary. A
conscious decision was taken by an official at the BSB which had the effect of
subverting the rules which provide for disclosure and furthermore suggested
that he was blind to any sense of fairness in the conduct of a disciplinary
prosecution. To my mind, that was compounded by inviting a witness to assume
the role of surrogate prosecutor by producing a statement of the sort I have
A link to the judgment of the Court of Appeal can be found here.
David and Chris are members of Littleton’s
Disciplinary and Regulatory Group (DRG) which is headed by Eleena Misra and
Carol Davis. Please contact our clerks if you would like to explore the
possibility of being represented by a Littleton barrister in your case.