A leading London commercial barrister has been suspended by the bar regulator from carrying out public access work for six months after he was found to have held client money to pay for services on their behalf.
Oliver White, of 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square, who has worked with Cherie Booth QC for the government of Pakistan in a multi-million-pound dispute, was also fined £1,000.
A five-person Bar Standards Board tribunal found that White had held £5,000 for his client. The money was to be used to pay for services by a third-party investigation agency on behalf of the client.
He was also found to have failed to cooperate with the Legal Ombudsmen following a complaint from a lay client.
This included ‘failing or refusing to discuss the complaint with the Legal Ombudsman’, and ‘requesting a three-week extension of time to provide a response to the complaint and then failing to provide any such response within the agreed extended deadline or at all’.
White was also found to have failed to ‘provide all such information as he had been required to provide’ in relation to the client between September and the end of November last year, ‘until he belatedly provided a response on 24 November 2014’.
The following month he also failed to provide information ‘either promptly or at all’.
The £1,000 fine was made up of three separate fines of £250, £350 and £400. The findings are open to appeal.