A barrister has been disbarred after lying to his clients about the progress of their case, months after he was struck off as a solicitor.
Jean Attala, a barrister and solicitor who worked at Thompsons Solicitors, was disbarred following a hearing yesterday where a tribunal found he had acted dishonestly and had not reported a ‘serious misconduct’ to his regulator.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal struck off Attala in September last year after it found he misled his clients into thinking their case at the employment tribunal was progressing despite it being struck out due to inactivity.
According to the tribunal at the time, Attala lied to the trade union GMB and its members about a case he was instructed in following the closure of a work site in Sunderland which resulted in 734 job losses.
At a hearing at the bar disciplinary tribunal, Attala faced two charges. The first was lying to the court, employers and clients about the employment tribunal case. The second was failing to inform the BSB that the Solicitors Regulation Authority had taken disciplinary action.
Sara Jagger, director of professional conduct at the BSB, said: ‘Mr Attala’s persistent dishonesty which affected hundreds of clients was clearly an unacceptable risk to the public and did not reflect the high standards of trust the public should expect from the profession.
‘We note the tribunal’s decision to order the disbarment, which is consistent with the action we took to interim suspend Mr Attala on 3 September 2015, immediately following his strike-off as a solicitor. It is right Mr Attala is no longer a barrister.’
A spokesperson for Thompsons Solicitors said: ‘When someone lies and covers their tracks, it is very difficult to uncover the deceit. Thompsons regrets Mr Attala’s behaviour and acted immediately on it being discovered to make sure that none of the affected members lost out and to take action against Mr Attala.
‘Our supervision systems are regularly reviewed and this incident fed into that ongoing process.’