An unregistered barrister has been prohibited from obtaining a practising certificate for two years after she failed to comply with a county court judgment ordering her to pay more than £300,000 to a creditor.

Barrister wig

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The Bar Tribunals & Adjudication Service made findings of professional misconduct against Mary Laureen Poku, who was called to the bar in November 1993. The five-person panel found she had behaved in a way ‘likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in her or in the profession and which could reasonably be seen by the public to undermine her integrity’.

Poku was found to have failed to comply with a judgment of the County Court Money Claims Centre from January 2020. The judgment ordered her to pay £310,170 to a creditor.

At the time, Poku was authorised to practise but did not renew her practising certificate. She became unregistered on 1 May 2024.

The Bar Standards Board said: ‘Despite assurances that she would do so on various occasions, no payments were made by Miss Poku towards the debt, nor did Miss Poku engage with the court with a view to remedying the breach of the order since it was issued in 2020.’

A BSB spokesperson said Poku’s failure to comply with a court judgment and to engage with the court was a ‘very serious matter’, adding: ‘[It] is incompatible with the standards the public expects of the bar, which requires barristers to behave with integrity. The tribunal’s decision to prohibit Miss Poku from practising for a long period reflects this seriousness.’

The tribunal’s decision is open to appeal.