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Tory councillor charged with faking law degree and bar course qualification

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Legal Cheek broke original story of Bar Council investigation flaws that led to arrest — Monika Juneja now faces seven counts

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A Conservative Party councillor in Surrey has been charged with seven offences following allegations of fraud.

The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed today that Monika Juneja, 35, a Guildford Borough councillor, has been charged with one count of willfully pretending to be a barrister.

And according to website getSurrey, prosecutors have also charged her with two offences under the Fraud Act 2006, three offences relating to the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 and one count of pecuniary advantage contrary to the Theft Act 1968.

Legal Cheek broke the story in March of the Bar Council’s confused interpretation of rules covering the correct use of the title barrister. At the time, it appeared as though the rules allowed those who had passed the Bar Vocational Course (now the Bar Professional Training Course), but not been called, to describe themselves as barristers.

Following the Legal Cheek article, the Bar Standards Board refuted the council’s position on the point.

Juneja was arrested in May and answered bail today, when Surrey Police charged her. She is scheduled to appear at Surrey Magistrates’ Court in Guildford on 2 September 2014.

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Update — 13 August 3:52pm

Simon Drew, a lawyer with the CPS south east complex casework unit, told Legal Cheek:

“The CPS has authorised Surrey Police to charge Ms Monika Juneja with seven offences, including forgery, fraud by false representation, obtaining monetary advantage by deception and wilfully pretending to be a barrister.

“It is alleged that Ms Juneja constructed false letters from the University of Greenwich and the BPP Law School outlining qualifications that she did not hold.

“It is also alleged that she pretended to be a barrister – acquiring legal roles at various councils – and that she provided recruitment agencies with untrue or misleading information about her CV, as well as supplying false qualifications to secure employment with Bromley Council.”

The CPS said the alleged offences took place between July 2000 and May 2014.

Further reading:

Tory councillor who described herself as a ‘barrister’ despite never being called to the Bar is arrested [Legal Cheek]

Confusing rules governing use of ‘barrister’ title produce their most absurd result yet [Legal Cheek]