Barrister who was disbarred after forging Lady Hale letter sued for £200,000 by ex-client

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By Katie King on

Alexander Mercouris has reinvented himself as a Russian commentator, his former client isn’t happy about this

An ex-barrister who forged a letter from Lady Hale is set to be sued for hundreds of thousands of pounds by a former client.

Alexander Mercouris was booted out of the profession in 2012 after a disciplinary tribunal found he’d brought the profession into disrepute thanks to his handling of Lorna Jamous’ claim (Jamous is the former client who is now suing him).

Beautician Jamous instructed Mercouris in a damages claim against Westminster Council, which stemmed from a care hearing involving her son, Tariq. Though the local authority offered Jamous £5,000 to settle, her barrister said he’d managed to win her a whopping £983,000, which he had in fact not done. This prompted Jamous to borrow money, go on holiday and look at new houses because she was expecting a windfall.

But with the windfall failing to materialise, Mercouris then — in the words of Stephen Mooney, acting for the Bar Standards Board (BSB) — “embarked on ever more bizarre assertions to hide the truth”. These included fabricating a letter from Lady Hale, now the deputy president of the Supreme Court, expressing concern about the near £1 million payment not having been made by Westminster.

He later claimed that he had been detained by bogus police officers and taken to a meeting with Lord Phillips, then president of the Supreme Court, and offered £50,000 to drop the claim. Mercouris, who was called in 2006, at one point also said that his brother had stolen the whole payout.

Mooney described Mercouris’ actions as “tortuous deceit”; former Royal Courts of Justice advisor Mercouris put them down to a nervous breakdown and subsequent depressive illness. Representing himself at the BSB-led hearing, Mercouris admitted the five counts against him and said:

I’m very sorry. I worked very hard to become a barrister and disbarment is a bitter thought.

Since his disbarment four years ago, Mercouris has reinvented himself as a writer and commentator on all things Russia and the law. He is an editor at news site The Duran, runs a professional Facebook page which has over 4,000 followers and appears on TV discussing current affairs.

But it seems the past has come back to bite him, in the shape of a £200,000 damages claim brought by Jamous.

Jamous, now 54, has filed a claim against Mercouris, now 55, in the High Court, alleging his new career has left her and her son feeling anxious and depressed. The Evening Standard reports Mercouris, represented by 9 Gough Square’s Gaurang Naik, attempted to have the case thrown out, claiming: “all [Mercouris] has done is moved on with his life.”

However, Master Davison last week decided the case could progress. It will be heard at a date to be confirmed. Jamous said:

I couldn’t believe he was holding himself out as an expert on these shows. I have been fighting this case on my own and am pleased it will now go to trial.

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