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Rule-breaking barrister avoids suspension after telling tribunal her printer broke down

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She represented a client in court without a valid practising certificate

A London-based barrister who represented a client in court despite not holding a valid practising certificate has avoided suspension after a tribunal heard that her printer had broken down.

Philippa Page, a tenant at Goldsmith Chambers, exercised her rights of audience (a reserved legal activity) at Wood Green Crown Court and Woolwich Crown Court on 2 and 3 May 2017. Criminal law specialist Page admitted to two charges of professional misconduct and was fined £1,000.

However it could have been a lot worse. Avoiding suspension, the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (TBAS) heard how Page had attempted to fill out the relevant paperwork online over the May Bank Holiday weekend but “found that was impossible”.

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Having phoned the Bar Standard Boards (BSB) for assistance, Page was advised by a member of staff to download the form instead. But Page’s IT problems persisted. In her own words, the judgment states:

“I was unable to fill it out electronically on my iPad, undoubtably due to my own incompetence and, as my printer had broken down, I could not print the form out at home.”

Her email continues:

“As I had already accepted work for 2 May I did not feel able to return it at short notice. In hindsight I concede that I should have done.”

Concluding, the three-person tribunal noted that Page was the subject of disciplinary action in 2015 for the same offence and that “repeated failures to meet practising requirements” would normally result in a suspension. However, factoring in Page’s IT troubles and genuine remorse, the tribunal felt a £1,000 fine was the appropriate sanction.

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26 Comments

Anonymous

My dog ate it…

Anonymous

I have defended many barristers in BSB prosecutions as I specialise in defending professionals in disciplinary cases. The facts of this case sound like a case I did 2 years ago in which the barrister could not renew his PC do to IT glitches affecting the Bar Council’s website. I procured his complete acquittal. I wonder if that decision and its reasoning, in which my novel legal submissions were accepted, was cited by the BSB to the tribunal that convicted Ms Page.

21 Year Old Paralegal

Your confidence turns me on a little. If I get a training contract and become a proper solicitor would you consider hooking up with me?

measured

I wouldn’t think so, Marc. Previous cases rarely need to be referred to in these Hearings.

Anonymous

True. They are a dream to appear in as you just turn up and wax lyrical. Which you would have thought the other poster was aware of.

Anonymous

It’s a dick move to call someone out by name. Also, saying that cases “rarely need to be cited” makes no sense – no they don’t “need” to be cited but if the prev poster is correct, citing this previous decision may have been helpful.

Anonymous

IT troubles and genuine remorse lol

Anonymous

Isn’t ‘Philippa Page’ one of Private Eye’s comic names for hack journalists, along with Phil Space?

Anonymous

Archaic system she had to adhere to in the first place. I see the sympathy.

Trumpenkrieg

Like, totally… If she self-identifies as someone that has practicing certificate it would be an act of literal violence for the regulator to deny her lived experience.

Like, rules and regulatory regimes and shit are just patriarchal white supremacist constructs designed to oppress POC and transwomyn of colour and should be totally like abolished.

Rowdy Merkin QC

She was unable to Phillipa page for her online application.

Anonymous

Seems like a lot of money for what was effectively an admin error when her competence to practise was never in issue.

Was she any less competent to practise on 2nd May than she was on 1st May? Of course not.

Sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Anonymous

Completely agree. As long as she was insured and she got round to getting the practicing certificate promptly after expiry, I don’t see the fuss.

Anonymous

Fair enough, but subject to disciplinary action for the same offence in 2015? That smacks of incompetence.

Anonymous

Wouldn’t lack of a practising certificate invalidate her insurance?

Anonymous

Depends

Anonymous

Unrivaled insight.

Anonymous

If this were the SDT, she would have been hit with costs of around £10,000 based on current trends.

Big Barry

Some random barrister forgot to fill a form in. Not newsworthy, and the woman certainly doesn’t deserve this sort of prurient Daily Maily sneering. So typically pathetic of Legal Cheek.

Scep Tick

Is it really suitable for someone so evidently clueless to represent anyone in anything?

Anonymous

Surmise

Anonymous

I would.

Anonymous

Why don’t her clerks tend to this? Mine do.

Anonymous

Wanker.

Stuart

A dog ate her computer.

Anonymous

A dog ate her clerk

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