A barrister who failed to tell his chambers he had withdrawn from a case before a Court of Appeal hearing has been fined £11,500 and banned from renewing his practising certificate for three years.
According to a finding by the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS), Matthew Boyden failed to provide a competent standard of work for his client or work in their best interest.
The BTAS decision said Boyden, called to the bar in 2007, did not notify chambers of his withdrawal when the case was adjourned. In fact, he told clerks he was available for an appeal hearing.
Boyden told his client that his chambers had taken over the case from him but did not inform his client that they needed to take alternative steps or on what steps they needed to take to prepare for adjourned hearing. He also failed to provide all such information to Bar Standards Board, the BTAS decision notes.
The published decision does not name the chambers. The incident took place between July and November 2015.
Meanwhile, the bar’s disciplinary tribunal has this week shifted the standard of proof applied in disciplinary cases, a move which could make it easier for barristers to be sanctioned.
As of yesterday, the bar now applies the civil standard of proof instead of criminal. Under the new procedure, the tribunal will now only need to be satisfied that charges have been proven ‘on the balance of probabilities’ instead of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
The change comes after a public consultation in 2017 and will bring the bar’s disciplinary arrangements in line with other professional regulators, except for the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), which is due to make a decision on its own standard of proof before Easter.
The criminal standard will continue to be applied to alleged professional misconduct that occurred before 1 April.
BSB director-general, Dr Vanessa Davies, said: ‘This is an important moment in the ongoing modernisation of our regulatory arrangements. The public and the profession can continue to have confidence that our disciplinary proceedings are robust, thorough and fair to all concerned.’