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Criminal barrister suspended for giving client £2,300 for ‘food and clothes’

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Furnival Chambers’ Roy Headlam also fined £1,250

London’s Furnival Chambers

A well-respected criminal barrister has been suspended for six months and fined after he reportedly gave a client thousands of pounds for food, clothes and more.

In 2014, Furnival Chambers’ Roy Headlam gave a woman he was representing in criminal proceedings a £2,000 cheque for clothes and a college course, according to the Mail Online. In the weeks leading up to this, Headlam had also handed the unnamed woman up to £300 outside his London chambers after she allegedly called him saying she could not afford food or electricity, again according to reports.

Despite what seems to have been good intentions, The Bar Tribunal & Adjudication Service (TBTAS) reportedly “found that there was no guarantee the money would not be spent on drugs”.

TBTAS found that Headlam had “failed to maintain his independence” and “behaved in a way which was likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in the profession”. Headlam, who was once one of the highest paid legal aid lawyers in the country, also “falsely claimed he had no spare funds to pay a financial penalty… [and] had no bank account of any kind”.

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The Bar Standards Board’s (BSB) director of professional conduct, Sara Jagger, said:

“The tribunal stated that barristers giving money to clients whom they are representing is a serious matter, because it calls into question their ability to maintain their independence and the confidence the public have in barristers — two of the core duties of being a barrister. The tribunal’s decision to suspend Mr Headlam from practising for six months reflects this.”

Headlam, who was called to the bar in 1983 and is an expert in serious criminal offences, was also fined £1,250.

Though Jagger seems to be content with TBTAS’s decision, some lawyers don’t seem so sure. James Turner QC, of Quadrant Chambers, tweeted this this morning:

The tribunal’s decision is open to appeal. Legal Cheek has contacted Headlam for comment.

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25 Comments

Anonymous

There must be more to this than is reported here.

(47)(1)

Anonymous

I have ‘re read the article. There is a link to the report in the Daily Mail, which explains the sorry story. I wonder if the link was added later in the day.

(0)(0)

Jones Day Partner

‘Food and clothes’

Genius! Why didn’t I think of that?

(25)(1)

Anonymous

So the BSB would rather she go homeless or hungry just as long as the chambers still get paid so the BSB can charge their ridiculous annual fees?

(17)(4)

Anonymous

What?

(3)(3)

Anonymous

Legal Cheek is done…a few comments on each article now. The click bait well and truly killed it.

(2)(4)

Trumpenkrieg

White knighting does not pay.

(4)(9)

Corbyn. Symphathiser

Giving someone some money is not “white knighting”. Please get out of your far-right internet bubble.

(22)(6)

Anonymous

Cuckold. Sympathiser.

You are a cucky little imposter.

(6)(14)

Anonymous

I wonder if the undercurrent is that the money was not for food and clothing at all. Tied in there is the odd matter of not cooperating with Bar Council proceedings, claiming he did not have a bank account and being the subject of a complaint from someone in the first place.

Drugs ?

(16)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(0)

Staying anonymous for the good of my job!

I’m at the Criminal Bar and have often helped out clients who claimed to be hungry/ no fares etc.

I shan’t be doing so ever again after this.

I note that the BSB didn’t have a problem with helping themselves to a chunk of his income…

(18)(2)

Anonymous

Have you ever given someone 2600 though, comrade ?

Don’t be put off if you are talking 100 pounds or less here and there each time.

You would be a good barometer for the article if you would tell us the sort of sum you used to give.

(5)(1)

Scary Santa from “A Christmas Story”

HO HO HO!!!!

AND WHAT’S YOUR NAME, LITTLE BOY?

(2)(1)

Anonymous

£100 is still loads. A sandwich or a bus ticket, fine. Passing on large sums though just looks dodgy. Give to a food bank or legal aid charity or something.

(12)(0)

Anonymous

£100 doesn’t really buy you a lot these days. Even spending very carefully you could drop £8-10 a day on coffee and £10-12 a day on food. That is your £100 finished before you even get to weekend or recreational spending. That doesn’t cover any monthly overheads either.

It all seems reasonable behaviour to me.

(1)(8)

Anonymous

You forgot avocado toasts!

(13)(2)

Anonymous

If someone is struggling for money so much that they cannot afford food or a bus fare, it is highly unlikely they would be dropping £8-10 a day on coffee! Unless they were completely out of their mind and unable to go a day without coffee.

(9)(1)

Anonymous

And then the grateful client will ask for the barrister, when there are further prosecutions or appeals…

Conflict of interest, rightly not allowed.

(5)(3)

Anonymous

He may well have not had a bank account for good reasons that Legal Cheek don’t want you to know and have censored.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

It says he falsely claims he had no bank account. Also, I’m not aware of any good reason why someone wouldn’t have a bank account.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Why would you want a bank account if you don’t have to have one? I’d certainly rather the government not have a complete track of private and personal banking affairs.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

The fee clerks tend to transfer money to barrister bank accounts so it seems odd why he claimed not to have an account.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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