Beaumont on Barristers – A Guide to Defending Disciplinary Proceedings
£34.99, Law Brief Publishing
Law books should, as a rule, be rather boring. It was with surprise, therefore, that I opened the newly published Beaumont on Barristers – a Guide to Defending Disciplinary Proceedings to find that the first chapter is entitled ‘The effect of disciplinary proceedings’. In it, Beaumont pulls no punches: ‘A professional complaint is an assault on everything the barrister has worked to achieve: reputation, self-confidence, status. Suddenly, all that seems to be questioned and, perhaps, to be in real jeopardy.’
Beaumont lays bare the mental stress, the terrifying lack of professional indemnity insurance cover for some, and the inaccessibility of many previous decisions of the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal – all too familiar to the small group of us who regularly practise in this field but largely unknown to the profession at large. The opening chapter is anything but boring.
The author then goes on to analyse and describe the nature of professional misconduct, the rules applicable to barristers, and the disciplinary process from inception through to appeal. In doing so, he gathers together the most important decisions in the field (many of which he has appeared in as an advocate). A separate chapter is devoted to human rights law as it applies to barristers.
One of the reasons why Andrew Hopper QC and I wrote the first edition of The Solicitor’s Handbook back in 2008 was that there was no easily accessible guide as to what the rules were, how they had been interpreted, and what to do if you were alleged to have fallen foul of them. For many years the Law Society had published the Guide to the Professional Conduct of Solicitors and provided it free to all solicitors. But by 2008 the final edition was out of date and there was nowhere to turn for guidance, save for the limitless expanse of the internet. Much the same problem of inaccessibility has beset barristers. Now at last barristers charged with disciplinary offences know where to look to discover what they may be facing, and how best to fight their corner.
In his foreword to the book, Lord Hendy QC writes: ‘It achieves that tricky balance between erudition and readability…This is an excellent and well-written textbook and I highly commend it.’
Coming from such a renowned practitioner, that is high praise. The book will be an invaluable resource for barristers facing disciplinary proceedings, and for those who represent them.
Gregory Treverton-Jones QC of 39 Essex Chambers is co-author of successive editions of The Solicitor’s Handbook (2008-2019), co-author of Disciplinary and Regulatory Proceedings (9th edition, 2017) and an editor of Cordery on Legal Services