A barrister has been disbarred after he was found to have practised for almost 10 months without a valid practising certificate.
Jonathan Oultram was punished at a disciplinary hearing after he was found to have caused ‘serious harm to the administration of justice’.
Oultram practised as a barrister from March 2013 to January 2014 despite not being properly authorised to do so.
A public hearing last Thursday before a five-person panel heard he also failed to engage at all with the regulator throughout the disciplinary process, and failed to comply with his continuing professional development requirements.
The tribunal also noted that his conduct amounted to a criminal offence under the Legal Services Act 2007.
His Honour Judge Sleeman, who chaired the panel, said Oultram's behaviour resulted in ‘serious harm to the administration of justice, the reputation of the bar, and risk to the public’.
Charges were originally brought by the Bar Standards Board against the barrister last October before a three-person panel, with the case referred to a five-person panel to allow for a more serious penalty. Oultram was fined £2,500 at last year’s hearing.
The criminal defence barrister was called to the bar by Middle Temple in November 1988 and was taken on as an in-house advocate by Manchester firm Freeman & Co in 2013. The firm has confirmed to the Gazette he left ‘some time ago’.
The appointment, operation, and decisions (including sentencing) of disciplinary tribunal panels are performed by the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS). BTAS is run independently of the Bar Standards Board - the barristers’ regulator - which is responsible for bringing charges of professional misconduct against barristers.
These charges are then adjudicated on by BTAS’ tribunal panels.