Judicial Conduct Investigations Office is investigating grievance of controversial solicitor
Solicitor-advocate Alan Blacker — who goes by the name of “Lord Harley of Counsel” — has hit back at the judge whose criticism of his courtroom attire sparked widespread media interest in his unusual approach to practice.
Writing on LinkedIn, Blacker described the dressing down handed to him for wearing colourful ribbons and badges on his gown by Crown Court Judge David Wynn Morgan as an “outrageous attack”.
Referring to himself in the third person as “Lord Harley”, Blacker continued:
“Lord Harley has formally complained about the conduct of the trial Judge and this matter will proceed under a code of rules governed by the JCIO.”
The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) has confirmed that a complaint has been received. A spokesperson said:
“There has been a complaint made against Judge David Wynn Morgan and it is being investigated.”
The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary, which represents judges, outlined the position of members of the judiciary in such circumstances, with a spokesperson stating:
“Judges do not comment on any ongoing investigation.”
In August, Judge Morgan memorably slammed Blacker for dressing “like something out of Harry Potter” while defending a client in Cardiff Crown Court charged with death by dangerous driving. Judge Morgan proceeded to tell Blacker that “if you ever appear looking like something out of Harry Potter, you can forget coming before this court ever again”.
In response, the solicitor-advocate claimed he had earned the ribbons for voluntary medical service with the St John Ambulance, but according to Wales Online the charity had no record of the lawyer’s involvement with them.
In the wake of the case, attention was drawn to Blacker’s rather spectacular LinkedIn CV and questions were raised about his right to use the “Lord Harley of Counsel” title after Wales Online reported that it did not appear on the College of Arms roll of peerage.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has since indicated that it is investigating.
Following Judge Morgan’s criticism of him in August, Blacker told Legal Cheek:
“Last year when I won a trial in which Your Honour was the presiding judge he was confident and satisfied in my appearance and bona fides, which have been on public record for several years. This matter is being discussed with my lawyers currently.”
Of the “Lord Harley” title, he said:
“My title is hereditary. My family has been in the height of public life for over 700 years.”
In his LinkedIn post on Thursday, Blacker reiterated his position, writing:
“Lord Harley, made a statement in August that his lordships bona fides were impeccable and beyond reproach, nothing since that time has caused Lord Harley to adjust his position.”
Blacker also announced in the post that an appeal has been launched against the conviction of the client he was representing at the time for causing death by dangerous driving. Further, in addition to complaining about Judge Morgan, Blacker says that he has “commenced formal proceedings in respect of the defamation created by the press”.
Blacker’s new LinkedIn statement in full
Following the dreadful press activity in August, Lord Harley has now signed off and commenced formal proceedings in respect of the defamation created by the press and certain individuals.
Large amounts of press coverage was ill-informed, baseless and fabricated. Some lawyers made comments which were contrary to the code of practice for lawyers and formal complaints have been lodged.
In addition on-line website editors are about to be served with process and relief is being progressed by internet server providers taking action against website authors.
Press editors have fabricated assertions which have no material factual basis and are ill-conceived in such a manner as to ridicule Lord Harley and the charity which he heads up, essentially to sell newspapers.
In addition to the legal action, an appeal has been launched against conviction of the client Lord Harley was representing at the time of the outrageous attack.
Lord Harley has formally complained about the conduct of the trial Judge and this matter will proceed under a code of rules governed by the JCIO.
Lord Harley has lodged formal complaints against several newspapers and broadcasters under the Editors Code of Practice and these will proceed under independent scrutiny. As journalists are not professionals and therefore practice without formal qualifications, damages awarded by the courts remain the main course of remedy.
Lord Harley, made a statement in August that his lordships bona fides were impeccable and beyond reproach, nothing since that time has caused Lord Harley to adjust his position.
No press statements will be made, so any purportedly coming from Lord Harley must be false. This statement has been made to inform the professional network of colleagues who trust and respect Lord Harley that the time has come for action to put right the mischief caused by a scurrilous and deceitful press. Whilst these peddlers of gossip profit from their publications, they must now suffer the consequences of their unqualified and unscrupulous attack on a national charity, headed up by a professional of inestimable repute.