Another twist in long-running saga of controversial solicitor-advocate
Lord Harley of Counsel has announced that he is taking legal action against the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) for failing to accommodate his disability.
The controversial solicitor-advocate — whose real name is Alan Blacker — is currently under investigation by the SDT for alleged breaches of the rules and regulations applicable to solicitors and their firms.
The full list of these allegations was revealed last month. They include recklessly misleading the court, and making or allowing to be made misleading statements about titles and qualifications.
But now there’s another twist in the tale: yesterday Harley announced on his infamous LinkedIn page that he is taking legal action against the SDT for hearing his case in London instead of Manchester, resulting in his non-attendance.
He says that he has served the SDT with pre-action documents. Referring to himself in the third person, he adds:
Lord Harley, a disabled lawyer who had served formal requests for a local hearing under the ‘reasonable adjustments’ provisions of the Equality Act 2010 was told this week the tribunal refused to deal with the application and rejected it outright.
The eccentric lawyer, who is based in Lancashire, goes on to claim that the SDT has disregarded the strict guidance published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission “without a second thought” by hearing the case in London. And he wants the High Court to compel the SDT to effectively come to him in the North of England.
The controversial lawyer — whose LinkedIn profile lists him as having studied at Trinity College, Manchester Metropolitan, Leeds Beckett, Kaplan Altior, University of California, University of North Carolina and Stanford University — seems determined to push on with his legal challenge, which he frames as part of a long-running battle he has fought “for disabled and people who are disadvantaged by poverty and social exclusion for over twenty years”.
He concludes by speculating that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which is responsible for bringing charges against him, could be deliberately seeking to prevent him appearing before the SDT:
If the SRA seek to prosecute me for these allegations, I would have thought they would have made the gallows as comfortable as possible for me; or it could just be as I suspect, they don’t want me to actually participate in these proceedings.
When contacted by Legal Cheek this morning, the SRA issued this statement:
The location of SDT hearings is entirely the decision of the tribunal. The tribunal is independent of the SRA.