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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

Had he been a woman he would have got community service. And not much of that had he been a mother.

(19)(11)

Anonymous

If “he” had been a mother that would’ve been a medical miracle

(6)(1)

Danny/Danni

What a transphobic comment!

I reserve the right to physically assault those who metaphorically assault transpersons by being transphobic.

And don’t reply, downvote or report because you are not ALLOWED to disagree.

#nodebate

(7)(3)

Anonymous

Not in this day and age

(0)(0)

Drumpfenkieg

Being white in front of this judge probably didn’t help him either.

(4)(3)

Anonymous

A Willey with balls.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

The tie knot and colour combo scream “estate agent” – should have set off alarm bells.

You people probably think I’m joking too.

(17)(0)

Anonymous

No, you are totally right. I have found that instantly judging on how someone dress just saves so much time. Judge on shoes, watch, dog and wife. In that order.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Haha! You’re dead right. Used to work with the guy. He was a recruitment agent

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Don’t think that follows. People can be very bright in some areas and not in others. He did Bar School, applied for pupillage and got one. All of that was perfectly proper. He then failed the BPTC. If he’d have thought things through he’d have known that there was no possible way he could get away with saying he’d passed when he hadn’t. As soon as he applied for a paractising certificate he would be tumbled by the BSB’s computer as without a valid membership number, the computer says No. Does seem a bit silly the check is done then as it could just as easily be done when registering the 1st six, but that is when the BSB do their check. But he didn’t think it though and got trapped by his first lie into telling more. Sad, but doesn’t mean he had mental health problems. Lots of people with mental health problems don’t act dishonestly. Looks like a bright guy who fecked up on a module and rather than being honest with his chambers and asking for a defer so he could re-take it, lied and got caught.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

An impressive CV

Lying about doing the BPTC “to get pupillage?”

You realise that everyone has to do the bptc right?

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Mike Ross could learn a thing a two from this

(0)(2)

Anonymous

Theresa May could learn a thing or two from this

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Isn’t the BPTC a piece of cake? It was a comedy year to get used to the Tube and know where to find decent pubs and dealers.

(9)(7)

Anonymous

When I was applying years ago I know loads of people lied about being ‘Experienced Level’ FRU reps. Most had made the training day or taken out one case.

I don’t know a single person who was ever caught or questioned about this by their chambers.

(15)(0)

Anonymous

Yeah that’s standard. But the point is that it’s a manageable lie.

1. Experienced level is part objective but part subjective.

2. The people at FRU don’t like talking to other people, so you know full well the lie will never get properly checked.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Agreed. ‘Experienced Level’ cases are CICA, Upper Tribunal or harassment/discrimination cases.

Interesting to see this is still so widespread. Perhaps some people lie because they don’t feel happy in the office to undertake more cases? Kudos to them for getting out and choosing to do other things with their time. No-one was ever denied a pupillage because the other candidate’s voluntary tribunal work trumped poor academics.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Hard to believe he was that arrogant to think he could get away with it. Failing to pass the BPTC in one year is a set back for most people not a path to prison.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

I don’t see clients being putting at risk.

He successfully completed LLB/GDL. He got a scholarship from Middle Temple for BPTC. Flunked some BPTC exams (everyone knows BPTC is a joke). Presumably he received pupillage offer during BPTC (and therefore not fraudulently obtained). Received training during pupillage.

It’s just the BPTC exams that are the issue here. BSB are in the process of abolishing the BPTC., future barristers won’t even sit these exams.

Fair enough he clearly had been dishonest in covering his tracks and should be punished. But 2+ years of immediate prison sentence for this is very harsh. Should have got community order or suspended sentence.

(7)(3)

Anonymous

So…it’s the exams’ fault for being too hard for him?

That’s a slap in the face to all who studied hard to pass them.

No excuses.

(6)(1)

Anonymous

No. The exams are not hard. They are silly and often fairly arbitrary marking. Any clown should be able to pass. I have no idea why this guy didn’t pass it.

The point is simply that BPTC is soon to be abolished and no one at the Bar really takes it seriously. So that fact that he was practising without having passed the BPTC is hardly major cause for concern. The real issue is that he was dishonest.

(5)(2)

Anonymous

Nothing fraudulent about my qualifications

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Hello Alan.

Yes, there are.

Get well soon.

Lots of love,

LC readership.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Whilst this guy should have been punished, two years in prison is pretty ridiculous.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

whilst?

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Yes, “whilst”. This is not America. Be off with you, cad!

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Learn English retard.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Do expand your analysis, kind sir, as I am always keen to learn. I studied English at Oxford, so I am surprised to discover my linguistic attainment is “retarded”. I like “whilst” it is right and it annoys the ignorant.

Anonymous

whomst?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Whatst?

Anonymous

Stop digging, you ignorant peasant. It is funny, but we are laughing at you, not with you.

Firey pants

The problem is always the covering up of the lie rather than the lie itself. Clearly his chambers had absolutely no sympathy for him.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

They may have had sympathy, he may be a nice / affable chap – but even so, there is nothing his Chambers can do for him if he has not met a minimum requirement of completing and passing the BPTC satisfactorily.

Perhaps this is a story of a guy under immense academic, professional pressure.

Just sad he did not take the BPTC failure on the chin, take a year out – pass the exams, and then re-apply for pupillage. I am sure he would have been successful.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

In the year out – he could have even worked somewhere useful and built up a CV, built up some contacts and earned some money. Not to mention travel on a decent holiday once the exams are over.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

People like this do exist and do not get caught. They test the system, see how weak it is, and they play it. The SRA allow so much of this to go on unchallenged.

(3)(0)

Lukey

Many moons ago I appeared before various magistrates supposedly initially as a McKenzie, but my client was too daft to represent herself.

I then went on to do her bail spp, appealled her POCA successfully and exonerated her in a drugs matter.

No one checked anything. They assumed I was her solicitor by my suit mostly. All I had was half an LPC and no idea what I was doing.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

And now you’ve passed the LPC, been in practice as a solicitor for several years, met many clients and handled loads of cases.

And you still have no idea what you’re doing.

(3)(0)

nada

the last two comments are the most down to earth ones!
some others are really twisted, in a bad way.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I interviewed at 4bc the same year as he did; I did not get Pupillage, so I have zero sympathy for him as he may well have taken my spot with his fake credentials.

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.

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