The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal prosecution of former Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman has been put on hold while he challenges the decision that removed him from office.
Rahman appeared in person at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal today to ask for an adjournment of his case.
The non-practising family solicitor faces charges of failures to uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice in relation to an election court's finding against him. That ruling, in April 2015, found him guilty of electoral fraud and ordered his immediate removal from his mayoral post.
The SDT today heard Rahman is awaiting a court date for an judicial review of elements of that decision in the administrative court.
Rahman was represented at the tribunal but only for the adjournment decision: if it continued to full hearing he said he would represent himself.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority had argued the judicial review would address only one element of its prosecution, which would have little impact on the disciplinary hearing in any case.
For the regulator, Edward Levey, of Fountain Court Chambers, said: ‘This is a very clear case of the profession being brought into disrepute. The judicial review is about quashing convictions so that the automatic bar on him standing for elections would be disapplied.’
Rahman's lawyer, Tanveer Qureshi, said the SRA had presented a ‘pessimistic, negative’ review of what the appeal entailed and said uncertainty about when it would take place should not mean the SDT should therefore proceed.
He added: ‘On any objective view one would feel uncomfortable pursuing this matter when such a grave matter of such substance is going to be pursued by the administrative court, [matters] which are intrinsically linked with these proceedings.’
The tribunal ordered Rahman to inform it within 14 days of the judicial review outcome being known. There was no application for costs from either party.