‘Lawyered up’: Mr Justice Peter Smith takes legal advice

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By Thomas Connelly on

Judge who is the subject of an ongoing judicial investigation into possible bias instructs corporate and financial crime specialist BCL Burton Copeland


A high court judge, who is at the centre of an alleged bias row, is reportedly taking legal advice from a leading London law firm.

According to The Lawyer magazine (£), Mr Justice Peter Smith has now instructed corporate and financial crime specialist BCL Burton Copeland to advise him “on a number of issues related to allegations of bias against him”.

Smith, who is currently the subject of an ongoing judicial investigation, has, says the report, punted for BCL senior partner Ian Burton — the man who its website claims “gets things done” and “needs no introduction”.

Smith hit headlines earlier this month after an explosive letter sent to the head of Blackstone Chambers, Anthony Peto QC, emerged online.

The letter — penned by the colourful judge last year — was in response to an article published in The Times (£) by Blackstone silk David Pannick QC, which was highly critical of Smith’s handling of a case involving BA and accusations of colluding to fix air cargo charges. Smith is now blocked from hearing cases involving tenants at Blackstone Chambers.

Not long after the extraordinary letter surfaced — in which the Chancery Division judge claims he “will no longer support” Blackstone — it emerged that Smith was also barred from hearing cases involving lawyers at City law firm Addleshaw Goddard.

Described as “a listing arrangement”, Smith apparently fell out with the northern giant after discussions relating to him joining the firm broke down.