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Barrister who accused Bar Disciplinary Tribunal of ‘lack of impartiality and independence’ has appeals booted out

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Immigration barrister, and a former joint head of a chambers in Birmingham, has had two appeals and two judicial review applications dismissed

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Tariq Rehman, a direct access barrister specialising in immigration law, has had two “hopeless” appeals relating to bar disciplinary tribunal decisions booted out by the High Court at the same time as being refused permission to proceed with two judicial review challenges in a judgment published yesterday.

Rehman — who is also the first barrister to be publicly named and shamed by the legal watchdog due to the number of complaints made against him — was attempting to overturn two decisions made against him by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). The first was in relation to cash received by the Legal Services Commission (LSC) and the second related to maladministration of Birmingham-based Kings Court Chambers of which he was joint-head at the time.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Hickinbottom dismissed the first appeal stating that it was “very straightforward”. The immigration barrister — who was suspended for two months last year having failed to pass on LSC cash to three barristers — already accepted that he had received money that did not belong to him. The judge said:

He accepted that there came a point when he knew he had it, and knew it belonged to other barristers. In fact, the tribunal found .. that he ought to have been aware of those matters earlier than he accepted he was in fact aware of them.

Furthermore, Rehman attempted to argue — as part of the same appeal — that he should have been fined for his actions instead of being suspended by the BSB. Hickinbottom didn’t agree.

Next up was Rehman’s appeal against 11 separate charges of misconduct in relation to his administration of Kings Court Chambers. Putting forward accusations of “widespread impropriety and corruption” Rehman argued that that the disciplinary tribunal was not “impartial and independent”. Due to a lack of evidence supporting Rehman’s strong accusations, Hickinbottom dismissed the appeal.

Not done yet, Rehman also made two separate applications for judicial review.

The first, naming dozens of defendants, suggested that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) was paying “barristers millions of pounds in bribes”. It also suggested that there could be “criminal implications” for the former chair of the BSB and called for the “immediate suspension” of Her Honour Suzanne Coates, who just happened to chair one of the disciplinary tribunal panels that dealt with Rehman.

Once again highlighting the distinct lack of evidence supporting Rehman’s claims, and stating that some of his claims were “scurrilous”, Hickinbottom refused permission for this first judicial review to proceed, branding it “legally hopeless”.

Finally, the second judicial review application, involving sixteen defendants and five interested parties over 1,500 pages, was in relation to several Legal Ombudsman (LeO) decisions against Rehman. Dismissing the application, Mr Justice Hickinbottom said it was “difficult not to conclude” that having being ordered by the LeO to re-pay client cash, the application was simply an attempt by Rehman to avoid paying up.

Read the judgment in full below