A public access barrister has been suspended for a month for failing to provide a competent standard of work to a client.
Mark William Smith was called to the bar by Gray's Inn in March 1997. The Bar Standards Board said that, between October 2013 and July 2015, Smith failed to advise a client properly on the implications of bringing a private criminal prosecution, including the fact that a costs order could be made against his client.
The Crown Prosecution Service took over the prosecution and the case was discontinued. The client was subsequently made the subject of a 'substantial' costs order. The tribunal found that the failure to advise properly 'amounted to Mr Smith providing an incompetent standard of work to his client', the BSB said.
Smith was reprimanded for failing to retain - or taking reasonable steps to ensure his client retained - a record of the oral advice he provided. According to the BSB, the tribunal found that this breached the regulator's rules for public access barristers.
Sara Jagger, BSB director of professional conduct, said: 'One of the core professional duties for all barristers is to provide a competent standard of work and service to their clients. The tribunal’s finding of misconduct reflects the importance placed on this duty.'
The decision is subject to appeal.