Bar regulator relaxed — and Bar Council silent — about protecting professional title
The housing and environment spokesman for anti-EU party UKIP refers to himself as a ‘barrister at law’ despite having never completed pupillage.
Gray’s Inn member Andrew Charalambous completed the old Bar Vocational Course and was subsequently called in 1989. However, he failed to do a stint as a pupil and is therefore not allowed to practise as a barrister.
But this hasn’t stopped Charalambous, who is now a successful property developer, from referring to himself as a “Barrister-at-Law” on his Facebook and LinkedIn pages, as well as on his personal website.
According to The Independent newspaper earlier this year, Charalambous placed 10th in its “benefit housing rich list”, bagging a cool £826,395 through his property empire, most of is rented to social housing tenants.
The UKIPer hit the headlines again last October when The Times (£) maintained that Charalambous had “faked” his education credentials by wrongly claiming to have a PhD in parallels between Plato’s Utopia and Spartan Society and a professorship in environmental science.
The report also made reference to the property developer and landlord being a “qualified Barrister-at-Law.” However, according to The Times, Charalambous removed this from his personal website the evening before the story broke.
Charalambous vehemently rejects The Times’ report, standing by his academic claims. And Legal Cheek can reveal that Charalambous still uses the term “Barrister-at-Law” on various profiles, including LinkedIn, Facebook and his personal website that The Times claimed he had removed.
Charalambous told Legal Cheek today that “Barrister-at-Law is in itself a qualification in its own right”. He went on to acknowledge that the “Bar Standards Board rightly takes action against non-practising Barristers who inappropriately supply legal services”.
In relation to his claimed academic qualifications, the UKIP man said he had a doctorate in business administration, and that he was particularly proud of his honorary professorship at The Universitas, which he described as “the educational and cultural arm of the Ordo Byzantinuis Sancti Sepulchri OBSS … an international organisation with more than 10,000 members globally, including leaders in business, politics and others in public life”. Charalambous also claimed to hold the title of “honorary Colonel of the State of Kentucky”.
The Bar Standards Board told Legal Cheek that Charalambous was free to use the term ‘Barrister-at-Law’, provided it was not in connection with the supply or offer of legal services. While the Bar Council — the de facto trade union for the profession — did not respond to requests for comment on whether it should be lobbying the regulator to tighten the rules.
So as long as he sticks to his lucrative property empire, he’s free to be Andrew Charalambous,’Barrister-at-Law’.