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

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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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17 Comments

Anonymous

He’s a bit barmy, isn’t he?

(9)(0)

Butter his baps

What a naughty boy

(2)(0)

Anonymous

It will bring a tear of nostalgia to your eye if you click the link to the Bar Standards’ Board record of the 2012 hearing. A five person tribunal struck Mercouris off. The costs ? Wait for it ….. 786 quid.

Generally, he seems to have been lucky not to have been collared by the boys in blue. If he had have been, then I think J would have got closure with that. Anyone know if , or why not, about police involvement ? 🙂

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Lord Philips paid them off

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Re police involvement – what would have been the charge?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

If you have crass conduct like this, then there will be a range of charges. Assuming he intended to get paid by J – fraud, or obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception, come to mind.

If he was acting pro bono then one of those crimes about communications that they use for twitter would have caught the fake letter from Lady Hale. – It was bound to cause harassment and distress.

Lie after lie. Nervous breakdown, if proven, is mitigation, not a defence and if proved, there would still be closure.

J may be chasing a rainbow on this, but what a sorry state of affairs.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

He told a series of increasingly bizarre lies to his client. It doesn’t necessarily add up to fraud. Obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception was removed from the Theft Act when the Fraud Act was enacted. Mr Mercouris is clearly a Walter Mitty character and I doubt that the police could have charged him with anything.
As to the claim by his former client, if it is really based on the fact that “his new career has left her and her son feeling anxious and depressed”, it doesn’t appear to disclose any grounds for the damages she is seeking. There must be more to the claim than LC is reporting. Is the claim based on losses sustained when the client acted upon the false statements made to her when Mercouris provided her with legal advice?

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Thanks for the steer about the Fraud Act 2006. I have just flicked through the HM guidance on it. I think he was very lucky not to have had his collar felt.
An arrest for Section 2,3 or 4 would have been justified. What would his defence to those sections have been, do you think ?
What would his defence to the communications offence I mentioned have been?
Interestingly if he had been convicted on a remorseful guilty plea the bsb may have said they would review his situation after 5 years, with a keen advocate, rather than banning him.

(1)(2)

Anonymous

It’s actually cringe how little you understand what you’re talking about

(1)(1)

Anonymous

The defence would be that it was a letter, not an electronic communication.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Re charge – Fraud Act would not apply here because he did not seek to gain money/advantage for himself or cause loss to another…..a walter mitty style outlandish lie, with no apparent gain or loss that seems to point to the fact that he really had an underlying mental condition ……

the fake letter from Lady Hale probably the only thing they could have brought charges for

why have you imported grammarly legal cheek? its annoying

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Where is your evidence that the barrister acted for free ? There’s no reference to him being pro bono or cab in lc or bsb.

(0)(0)

A nonentity criminal barrister

Just goes to show, it’s a long way to fall…

#everso’umble

(1)(0)

Anonymous

This is an utterly scandalous claim.

Extraordinary that the former client gets so upset at the sight of the man on a TV channel she doesn’t watch.

(5)(5)

Anonymous

He’s been struck off / disbarred, whatever the terminology…….why can’t he now have a new job? Anyone can have an opinion and set themselves up as a professional opinion provider on current affairs ….. I don’t see the problem here….

The ex client is understandably still angry (to her own emotional detriment ), but she should be told to move on.

(4)(2)

Anonymous

How do you know if she watches rt news or not ? And why should he be able to be presented to the public as a professional persons when clearly he’s a decieltful , evil vindictive man ? I think you should reevaluate your preposterous opinion before you voice them .

(1)(0)

Anonymous

How do you know if she watches rt news or not ? And why should he be able to be presented to the public as a professional persons when clearly he’s a decieltful , evil vindictive man ? I think you should reevaluate your preposterous opinion before you voice them .

(1)(0)

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