The High Court has upheld a professional misconduct charge against a barrister who threatened to sue his dentist after implant surgery.
Henry Davies was found at fault of one charge by the Council of the Inns of Court after telling Dr Anil Shrestha he was a trained mediator and expert in medical negligence and stating that he would win any future case.
Davies also stated incorrectly that the legal principle of restitution applied to the case and that Shrestha should return almost £6,000 in fees and restore his teeth to their previous state.
Shrestha, who has flagship practices in the legal districts of London and Birmingham, told the Dental Defence Union he felt ‘intimidated and bullied’ by the barrister and that he was wary of treating other lawyers in future.
Davies was fined £500 by the tribunal after one charge of professional misconduct was proved against him.
But he appealed on the grounds that the tribunal failed to give adequate reasons for its decision, paid no attention to the context and misconstrued how serious his conduct had been.
Davies said the fact that a third element of the same charge, that he told the dentist he had previously threatened to sue Boots Opticians, was unproven showed he was not guilty of professional misconduct.
He also stated before the tribunal that at no point in his correspondence with Shrestha did he write on chambers-headed notepaper or refer to himself as a barrister.
The tribunal had said it preferred the testimony of the dentist and that contemporaneous documents supported his account.
Following a one-day hearing this month, Mr Justice Supperstone said the tribunal’s reasons were ‘adequate’ for the issues of fact they covered and the nature of the evidence.
In Davies v Bar Standards Board, the judge said the rejected finding did not undermine the tribunal’s ruling but supported it, indicating the ‘care’ with which it considered the evidence.
In its submission, the Bar Standards Board, acting as defendant, said there was ‘ample oral and documentary evidence’ to support the finding that Davies abused his position as a barrister.
Supperstone dismissed Davies’ appeal, adding: ‘The tribunal was entitled to consider that the conduct it found proved could properly be regarded as sufficiently serious as to amount to professional misconduct.’