Immigration barrister who told dentist he was medical negligence expert loses misconduct appeal
Be careful how you issue those legal threats, lawyers
A Midlands barrister has failed in his attempt to overturn a disciplinary decision in the High Court over a legal threat he issued to his dentist about a new set of pearly-whites.
Henry Davies (pictured below), the head of Trinity Chambers, Birmingham, was originally found guilty of one charge of misconduct and fined £500 by the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal.
The hearing found that Davies — who is also an approved pupil supervisor — had abused his position as a barrister when he threatened to sue Dr Anil Shrestha after complications occurred with implant surgery back in 2008.
Shrestha removed Davies’ old implant and attempted to correct his dental problems over a period spanning 18 months.
But he acknowledged that the surgery on the implant removal had failed.
In the wake of this, Davies told Shrestha that he was medical negligence expert, despite actually being an immigration lawyer. He then managed to cock-up the law, incorrectly telling his dentist that the legal principle of restitution applied.
The barrister also demanded that Shrestha should not only repay almost £6,000 in dental fees, but also return his teeth to how they were prior to surgery.
Davies, in his defence, told the tribunal that he had not used chambers’ headed paper or referred to himself as a barrister during correspondence with Shrestha. However, in an eye-catching analysis of his evidence at the time, the tribunal concluded:
Broadly speaking, we accepted that Dr Shrestha was an honest and reliable witness… Broadly speaking, we felt that Mr Davies was not being in any way untruthful, but… formed a sense that [his] feelings of grievance over the treatment and the costs of the treatment predominated over a fully accurate account of what took place. We were not able to accept his evidence unreservedly and, in balancing up the witness evidence, we preferred on the whole the evidence of Dr Shrestha.
Undeterred, Davies appealed to the High Court, claiming the tribunal had failed to adequately explain how his actions had undermined the standards of the profession.
Yesterday, upholding the decision of the tribunal, Mr Justice Supperstone dismissed the Brummie barrister’s claims after a one-day hearing earlier this month. He said:
In my judgment, having made the findings of fact that it did the tribunal was entitled to consider that the conduct it found proved could properly be regarded as sufficiently serious as to amount to professional misconduct.
The experience has left Shrestha wary of treating lawyers. He told the Dental Defence Union:
I was now made very wary of treating other law professionals, members of whom form a significant part of my patient base as I am located at flagship practices in Colmore Row in Birmingham, and Gray’s Inn/Lincoln’s Inn, London.