A barrister who received a civil restraint order after repeatedly trying to bring personal family proceedings has been disbarred by a disciplinary tribunal.
Sophia Cannon, called to the bar by Middle Temple in 2001, was issued with a limited civil restraint order by the High Court after pursuing four applications in family law proceedings. According to the tribunal’s published findings, Cannon – who has appeared on numerous television programmes as a family law expert – pursued an application in April 2015, which the judge found to be without merit. She subsequently received a barring order for three years.
Eight months later, Cannon made an application for injunctive relief which was also found to be without merit and the following year, in July 2016, she made another application which was found to ‘make no sense’ and to be ‘an abuse of court process’. Three months later Cannon made a further application and received a civil restraint order.
According to the published findings, Cannon committed other acts of professional misconduct relating to the family court proceedings. For example, she knowingly misled the court about a draft order, failed to pay a respondent’s costs and failed to pay £6,500 of school fees in accordance with the orders of a district judge.
In relation to all these matters, the tribunal found Cannon had behaved in a way likely to diminish the trust and confidence the public places in a barrister, and ordered for her to be disbarred.
A Bar Standards Board spokesperson said: ‘The tribunal’s decision acts as a reminder to all barristers that their actions in personal legal proceedings can impact on the public’s confidence in all barristers and amount to professional misconduct. The serious impact of Ms Cannon’s actions is reflected in the decision to order her disbarment.’