Pupil barrister passed off other tenants’ work as his own, tribunal finds

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By William Holmes on

Decision open to appeal

A bar disciplinary tribunal has found that a pupil barrister passed off work done by other members of chambers as his own.

No practising certificate may be issued to Mr X until 14 December 2025, the tribunal ruled in a decision that is open to appeal. He will also have to undertake a further six months pupillage.

On 12 May 2021, Mr X is said to have submitted a skeleton argument that was part of an advocacy exercise. This document, according to the tribunal, had already been submitted by another pupil back in 2018. Mr X accessed this document by searching the emails of the head of pupillage committee without their knowledge or consent.

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Several days later, Mr X submitted a draft opinion that had been taken from another member of chambers and a pupil. Further, on 1 June, he submitted a draft letter in response to a letter of claim that had again been taken from a member of chambers and a pupil, having obtained their work without their knowledge or consent.

All three exercises were used for the purposes of assessing his capability within pupillage.

On 4 June 2021, Mr X told the head of the pupillage committee in a meeting that he hadn’t seen a draft letter written by a member of chambers before preparing his own.

The tribunal found that Mr X knew this statement to be false, and in all four circumstances had “failed to act with honesty and with integrity” and “knowingly misled or attempted to mislead” the other parties in each case.

In addition to the delay in the issuing of a practising certificate, Mr X was ordered to pay costs of £1,800.

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