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Henry Hendron wins appeal against second suspension

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BSB concedes case on a technicality unearthed by its own barrister

Henry Hendron

Scandal-hit barrister Henry Hendron has won an appeal against being suspended from practice for a second time — after the regulator uncovered a technicality that cost it the case.

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) told the High Court that because Hendron was already suspended when it launched a second set of disciplinary proceedings, it never had jurisdiction and was conceding the appeal.

Hendron was originally suspended in 2016 after admitting possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply following his boyfriend’s death. He returned to practice in 2019.

Just a few months later, Legal Cheek reported that Hendron had been suspended again, this time for failing to reimburse a client who he had become unable to represent.

But it turns out that Hendron had appealed that second suspension — and has now succeeded.

By the time his appeal reached the High Court in February 2020, the BSB realised that it had a problem. Its disciplinary action against Hendron over the client refund had been launched at a time when he was already suspended — meaning that it had no jurisdiction.

Mr Justice Fordham wrote: “[T]he BSB’s position is that a barrister whose practising certificate has been suspended is not a ‘BSB regulated person'”, adding that “I have heard no argument and seen no analysis to the contrary.”

The judge praised the BSB and its barrister, Zoe Gannon, for telling him about the “suspended-barrister problem” even though it cost them the case. Hendron himself “had not identified it or relied on it in his grounds of appeal”.

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As a result of this “lacuna”, the regulator decided that it had to concede the appeal and overturn the second suspension.

The BSB did ask Fordham to allow a fresh charge, essentially starting the disciplinary proceedings over the reimbursement all over again.

But Hendron argued that reopening a can of worms that dates from 2016 would be unfair — especially since the client has now been paid back.

Fordham agreed, finding that “it would not be in the interests of justice, nor justified by reference to the public interest, the protection of the public or confidence in the profession, to remit this case to the BSB so that further action could be taken against Mr Hendron.”

The decision leaves Hendron in the clear — although Fordham ended his judgment with a parting shot. “There is no dilution of the professional standards owed by Mr Hendron, for the protection of the public”, Fordham warned. “That is now the appropriate focus for energies, going forward.”

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21 Comments

Penry Pendron

Chemsex strikes again! Top bantz all round.

(21)(1)

Roberta

Still the first suspension – and all the media coverage surrounding this – effectively ended the career.

(19)(0)

Anon

Not really: he was in a probate case that was in all the papers last week. No doubt paid handsomely by his client. He lost.

(18)(3)

Anonymous

I genuinely regret doing an LLM and volunteering for 10 FRU cases.

Chemsex and dating an 18 year old was clearly the way to maintain a career at the Bar.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Which one? Cannot find any reports on it.

(0)(1)

Allie

Hi Henry!

(4)(0)

Alan

That’s an interesting decision. Probably explains why V4 of the Handbook now has this:

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Handbook continues to apply to those who are subject to suspension.”

(16)(0)

Benry Bendron

Hendron really exposes the difficulty with direct access. Most decent solicitors can protect the client’s interests when instructing counsel. However, members of the public don’t have the skills or the experience even to negotiate properly over fees. So the Hendrons of the bar can keep fleecing the public, with no real difficulty.

(12)(0)

Solicitor Bob

What’s to stop the solicitor fleecing the member of the public?

(2)(0)

Barryman

Nothing. And they do, in their droves.

(5)(0)

Alan

Under the new transparency rules we now have to make costs information readily available to potential clients.

Wouldn’t surprise me to see some sort of legal services price comparison website crop up.

Bet it’ll be a meerkat dressed up as a barrister.

(3)(0)

Bumhole of the Bailey

Compare the bastard.com

(4)(0)

Just curious

Nice to see Henry back in the news. It’s worrying that he didn’t identify the jurisdiction point in his grounds of appeal: that would be the first issue a competent lawyer would check. I’m out of touch after months of intermittent internet in a remote jurisdiction so I wondered if there has been any news of that other legal charlatan, Lord Harley. Was he convicted on the prosecution for the disability benefit fraud? Has he exhausted all appeals against the decision SDT to strike him from the roll?

(5)(3)

QC

As I understand it , HH did identify an initial jurisdictional issue in the first identical set of proceedings the BSB brought which resulted in the BSB terminating them applying to the Council for the Inns of Court to change the rules to plug the gap, once that gap was plugged the BSB put the matter back to the Tribunal etc only their were it appears 2 jurisdictional gaps which needed filling…

(4)(0)

In the know

They are a just joke, a rather sick joke!

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Where can I get a copy of the grounds of appeal? Or grounds of appeal in general?

(1)(0)

BSB not fit for purpose

The BSB are just a bunch of clowns.

(41)(0)

Relativity

They’re still exponentially better than the SRA.

I would rather be regulated by the BSB if I had the choice. I’m almost tempted to cross-qualify, simply to escape the SRA’s f##kwittery.

Certainly, if I escape overseas to avoid the UK’s COVID/Brexit-induced “Second Great Recession”, then I will try to qualify in that jurisdiction (i.e. Cayman, BVI, etc.) so as to get away from the SRA’s incompetence.

(2)(2)

A A

I doubt that would work. I know the BSB has a kind of universal jurisdiction, even over overseas work. I imagine the SRA does something similar.

(1)(0)

Puzzled LC reader

Why did LC delete the comments criticising the lack of client protection measures under the public access scheme? The comments were on topic, and they weren’t defaming anyone.

(4)(9)

Ahem

In my opinion, some working in the law may be described as litigious.

I have absolutely no idea who might be though.

(8)(0)

Comments are closed.

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