The High Court has thrown out as ‘totally without merit’ claims by a Birmingham public access barrister which included an application to compensate and overturn all adverse findings made against any barrister ever.
Tariq Rehman, who was head of Kings Court Chambers, had sought to overturn a number of disciplinary tribunal decisions.
He also lodged two judicial reviews, one which, if granted, would have undermined every finding and determination against him by the bar disciplinary tribunal. The other sought to judicially review a number of decisions made against him by the Legal Ombudsman.
In December 2014 the LeO publicly named and shamed Rehman because of the number of complaints against him.
The first judicial review, which named 33 parties as defendants, including the Bar Standards Board and the Solicitors Regulation Authority, contained suggestions that the SRA has paid barristers millions of pounds in bribes.
It also suggested that there might be ‘criminal implications’ for the former chair of the BSB and called for the immediate suspension of, among others, Her Honour Suzanne Coates, who chairs one of the disciplinary panels that has considered charges against Rehman.
Another claim, which was described by Mr Justice Hickinbottom (pictured) as ‘legally scurrilous’, suggested that various barristers who represented Rehman had ‘colluded with the [BSB] so that they would lose their cases’.
The core of the claim was to set aside every adverse finding and determination made by the disciplinary tribunal against any barrister, and to have every barrister who has ever been disbarred or suspended duly restored and paid compensation, because the BSB procedure was fundamentally flawed.
Hickinbottom described this claim as ‘legally hopeless’. He said: ‘[The] judicial review is not only unarguable, at its highest, it is clear that no judge could properly conclude that this claim might succeed. It is totally without merit’.
He also took issue with the involvement of Anal Sheikh, a struck off solicitor, in the proceedings. He said it was ‘tolerably clear’ that she was seeking to use Rehman’s claim in order to ‘further her own claim that she was a victim of fraud’.
Hickinbottom dismissed the second judicial review against decisions made by the ombudsman, which had mainly sought to enforce refunds to clients. The judge said that as most of the decisions were not final and binding they were not open to judicial review.
He said: ‘It is difficult not to conclude that these challenges have been made with a view simply to avoiding payment to individuals who have been successful in making a complaint, and who have been awarded the return of their fees and modest compensation for inconvenience.’
The judge also dismissed two appeals against convictions by the disciplinary tribunal. The convictions included a two month suspension for failing to promptly pay for work done by colleagues. The decision had been suspended pending the outcome of the appeal. A further two appeals will be heard in July.
Hickinbottom also refused Rehman permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court.