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Jail for bogus barrister who worked on family cases after lying about completing BPTC to secure pupillage

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Real life Suits?

📸 Scott Willey

A bogus barrister has been jailed for over two years after lying about his legal qualifications in order to secure pupillage and pursue his “dream career” at the bar.

Scott Willey landed a training spot at 4 Brick Court, a London set specialising in family law, in the summer of 2016 after creating an “impressive, yet fictitious, CV” which showed he’d completed the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at City Law School and was due to be called to the bar at Middle Temple later that year.

However, Inner London Crown Court heard how the 27-year-old lied about his academic credentials to “cover the fact that he was unqualified for his ‘dream career'”, the Evening Standard reports. Middle Temple confirmed Willey was only a student member of the Inn, while City Law School said he had failed to complete the year-long vocational course.

Willey, who fraudulently received a pupillage award of £16,000 and a further £757 in travel expenses, “worked on 18 cases”, including appearances in 22 family hearings, according to the report.

After chambers’ bosses were unable to find a bar practice registration number for Willey, the bogus barrister created a “convincing looking” email which indicated he was provisionally registered by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). The email was forwarded by chambers to the regulator, which confirmed it had sent no such email.

The court also heard how Willey had been diagnosed with a neurological tumour in 2008. However, the growth was no longer there in May 2018 when he told chambers staff it had “returned and was growing”.

The wannabe barrister eventually confessed to having not completed the BPTC after 4 Brick Court barrister, Ian Griffin, brought the BSB’s response to Willey’s attention. The fake barrister, who was arrested in June of last year, also admitted accessing a colleague’s email account and supplying false details.

Willey was jailed for two years and three months after pleading guilty to three counts of fraud by false representation, one count of making/supplying an article for the use in fraud, one count of falsely implying to be a barrister and one offence under the computer misuse act.

4 Brick Court declined to comment.

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80 Comments

Anonymous

Silly Willey

(30)(0)

Anonymous

Stunning picture.

(12)(0)

Anonymous

Wonky Willy has been bobbitted

(2)(0)

Anonymous

You have to have some sympathy for him. He enrols on the BPTC, which is a notoriously expensive course. He is awarded a scholarship by an Inn of Court. He then, no doubt to his absolute delight, secures pupillage. He works his way through the BPTC exams, which are not easy. Given the timing, he may have failed an exam where the results for the resits would not be out before the start date of his pupillage. He has come so close, and then lost everything. How easy it would be to keep quiet, start pupillage, and hope nothing is discovered. He starts the pupillage, and realises that he will eventually have to register the pupillage. Panic sets in. A certificate is forged. The deception continues.

The thing that really surprises me in this case is that it took until his second six for the deception to be uncovered. He would have had to register his pupillage at the very start of his first six, which would have been a perfect opportunity for the regulatory authorities to uncover the fraud. Why did this not happen? Instead, the deception continued until the second six, by which time members of the public had been put at risk. There are surely lessons to be learned here.

Oh, and poor shirt/suit combo.

(34)(16)

Anonymous

No sympathy.

Dishonest.

(17)(6)

Anonymous

I can kind of see how that lie got out of hand and just grew and grew and dug a deeper hole – I just dont understand why he did not re-sit and at least pass the bptc at any point? or maybe that was what he was planning on doing?

(14)(4)

Anonymous

I agree. In chambers we never check background qualifications or perform due diligence. It is very similar to the barrister at Quadrant who practiced for 20 years having lied about his qualifications (although he did have the BVC and a law degree from UEA – he just lied about going to Oxford which is presumably why he wasn’t prosecuted?)
This has happened enough times that Chambers should at least check with the Inn (who receive BPTC results direct from the BSB) that a person is really a Barrister.

I have some sympathy but, come on, if he got pupillage on/before the BPTC (which he did without lying) surely he could have owned up and just applied again next year!

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Silly billy Willey!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Wiley Willey

(3)(0)

Mike Ross

Hey! This kid stole my idea!

(8)(12)

Bill S Preston, Esq.

That is totally bogus, man.

(6)(0)

Mike Ross 2

You’re not a fraud, Scott. You just never finished law school.

(23)(0)

Lord Harley

Two years and three months in jail for this!!!! The feeble-minded cretins. Everyone polishes their CV and , if they don’t, they are idiots.

(21)(26)

Anonymous

Is this true ?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

It takes some serious balls to do this. Give the man a pupillage.

(50)(2)

Anonymous

Skinny middle class white boi like that is going to get eaten alive in prison.

(24)(15)

Anonymous

lol @ middle class

You clearly aren’t if you think someone dressed like this man could be.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Jokes aside, this is a really desperate and sad story

(47)(0)

Scouser of Counsel

I’ve never been asked to supply any of my credentials to anyone, even once (though I have them in case anyone wants to see them, and will hand them over on request, I hasten to add!) It’s all taken on trust.

As such, the Bar is probably one of the easiest professions for charlatans and fantasists to infiltrate, undetected.

(27)(0)

Anonymous

I’ve no idea what you mean. No charlatans here, honest.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Fantast! I’ve always wanted to be a barrister. Can I borrow your credentials for a couple of years, just while I establish a following?

(1)(2)

Anonymous

I think the reality is you have but you don’t remember because it’s a relatively insignificant paper exercise. Your A-levels are checked by UCAS to get into uni. You will have needed to evidence your law degree to get on the BPTC (BVC). You will then have had to evidence your BPTC (BVC) to get called and to get the relevant registration details to obtain your full practising certificate.

This guy was actually caught!

This case exposes the fact that that getting a provisional practice certificate at the start of second six can be done without having completed the BPTC. The tragedy about this is that passing the BPTC is so much easier than getting Pupillage; he should have completed the course.

What I would say is the mooting, minis, time spent volunteering on death row in America 🙄 and your A-levels and degree classification are not routinely checked by Chambers offering Pupillage. Albeit you will need to have completed the BPTC to get your practising certificate. This is an area where people can cheat the system and get away with it (at their peril).

(10)(1)

Anonymous

As calls to the Bar are published in The Times, it’s very easy to check whether someone has been called.

(14)(0)

Anonymous

errr….yeah the old fashioned way is the times……

you can also check the online register which tells you chapter and verse – the name and date of call

(6)(8)

Anonymous

Only for practising barristers.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Whatever you say about his conduct, that Willey must have had big balls

(10)(0)

Donlard Drumpf

Just shows what a massive con the pupillage interview process is, that someone can blag their way through like this

(17)(2)

Anonymous

salty?

(2)(2)

ye

what red flags did his bosses get to even start checking his qualifications?

was his professional knowledge really poor? (there are lots of barristers like that though)

was he inconsistent with his lies?

what triggered the investigation?

(2)(1)

Ex Barrister

They have to register the completion of first 6 with the Bar Council so presuming that’s why the issue with no Membership No. came up.

Can’t remember having to show anyone my credentials at all.

(6)(0)

So

So he did not pass the BPTC at City Law School

– Where did he do his undergrad in law / gdl?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

i dont like his shirt and tie combo

(3)(0)

Anonymous

This is the tie he wore to his legal career’s funeral.

(14)(0)

Anonymous

That knot is almost the same size as his head

(11)(0)

Guvnor

The full Windsor, innit

(0)(0)

Anonymous

If somebody can get pupillage without having studied the BPTC, it suggests that the course is in fact completely pointless.

Same goes for the LPC.

(23)(2)

Anonymous

Think he did study it. He just didn’t pass it.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

If you’re going to defraud your way into a job, at least do it for something that pays more than £16k a year.

(31)(0)
(4)(1)

Anonymous

But don’t they give those to just about everyone that can string a sentence together?

(4)(2)

Anonymous

Two factors here: he put members of the public at risk and also importantly deprived a student of a Pupillage opportunity.

(16)(7)

Comments are closed.

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