A leading media lawyer has been disbarred for fabricating a High Court order to mislead her client, a former MI6 officer who compiled a notorious report on Donald Trump’s alleged links to Russia.

Nicola Cain worked as a partner in City firm RPC’s media team and was representing Christopher Steele – author of the so-called ‘Steele dossier’ – when she created a fabricated order purported to have been made by Senior Master Fontaine, the Bar Tribunals & Adjudication Service (BTAS) heard.

She acted for Steele in a libel claim brought by Russian businessman Aleksej Gubarev over allegations that Gubarev and his company Webzilla were involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee before the 2016 US presidential election.

The claim was dismissed in 2020 after the High Court found the allegations to be defamatory, but that the claimants could not establish that Steele or the corporate intelligence company he co-founded, Orbis Business Intelligence, were responsible in law for the publication.

Cain, called to the bar in 2005, was found by BTAS to have dishonestly misled Steele by sending him the fabricated order, leaving out or changing information about what her client had been ordered to do by the court.

She was also found to have failed to notify, or seek instructions from, her client regarding applications made by the claimants and to have provided a false copy of an application to her client. Cain was further found to have served a witness statement stating that she was authorised to make it on behalf of her client when she was not.

Cain was disbarred and the tribunal ordered that the Bar Standards Board should not issue her with a practising certificate pending the hearing of any appeal. She was also ordered to pay £5,900 in costs.

Sara Jagger, the BSB’s director of legal and enforcement, said: ‘The charges which the tribunal has found proved involved dishonestly and deliberately misleading a client. The tribunal’s decision to disbar Ms Cain reflects the seriousness of her conduct and that such acts are not compatible with membership of the bar.’