‘UK’s top barrister’ fined by Bar Standards Board over website boasts

But legendary topcriminalqc.co.uk site lives on

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2 Bedford Row silk Michael Wolkind QC has been reprimanded and hit with a £1,000 fine for claims made on his website about his status as a “top barrister”.

Topcriminalqc.co.uk — which was first brought to the legal profession’s attention in 2012 by Legal Cheek — contained a host of claims which the Bar Standard Board (BSB) have deemed “likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public”.

The assertions, which are detailed in full in the published finding below, include the statement that “Michael Wolkind QC was the UK’s top criminal barrister”, and “was widely recognised as the UK’s top murder barrister and QC; top protest case barrister and QC; top terrorism barrister and QC; top property householder self-defence rights barrister and QC and top regulatory, inquest health and safety and tribunal barrister and QC”.

A screenshot from Wolkind's old website
A screenshot from Wolkind’s old website

Wolkind was also sanctioned for including a client testimonial expressing his view that “Michael Wolkind QC could get Stevie Wonder a driving licence”.

The BSB took action following an unsuccessful appeal by one of Wolkind’s client’s against a murder conviction which included an allegation that the top QC had been “wholly incompetent”. Wolkind was cleared of misconduct. But during the hearing, topcriminalqc.co.uk was brought to the attention of presiding judge Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice, who said at the time:

Our attention was drawn to Mr Wolkind’s personal website. We were surprised at its content and tone. However whether it is within the proper bounds of professional conduct for a member of the bar, particularly one who has had since 1999 the status of being one of Her Majesty’s Counsel, is a matter which we direct be referred to the Bar Standards Board for their consideration.

Wolkind’s website has since been substantially amended, but it remains online. Defiantly, a host of gushing client testimonials continue in place, including:

You are the most talented man I have ever met… you have given me my life back… you are awesome.

While another former client proclaims:

Mr Wolkind will fight with the judge, make love to the jury and leave the prosecution wondering what just happened to their dead cert case!

Read the BSB finding in full below:

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