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I hired a dishonest barrister to deal with suing my ex-builder


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I hired a barrister directly to deal with suing my ex-builder.

 

The barrister thought it would be okay to talk to her friends (who also happen to be my neighbours) about my case.

 

Apart from the fact I feel humiliated, I now feel that my case with the builder is ruined, as the details of my case could lead back to him.

 

Can anyone tell me if it is worth pursing a legal case against the barrister over her conduct and am I likely to gain compensation for the possible loss of my other case?

 

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This has the potential of a very serious complaint.

 

I think that the best thing to do is to begin by making a complaint to the Bar Standards Board https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/complaints-and-professional-conduct/disciplinary-tribunals-and-findings/the-disciplinary-tribunal-process/

 

If they uphold the complaint then that will give you a good basis for bringing any other action which you think reasonable in order to address any losses you might have suffered. In order to bring an action against the barrister or anyone else, you will have to show that they did actually cause you some loss.

 

In terms of the damage which this might caused to your case against your builder, if you had a good case anyway then really it shouldn't make a lot of difference. You would have to disclose evidence anyway and of course it would all be aired in open court.

 

If you had a strong case then the fact that some information has been divulged in advance shouldn't make a lot of difference. If you had a very weak case then maybe you shouldn't be bringing the action anyway

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This sounds like a breach of their duty of confidentiality, but:

a)where is the "dishonesty" you are accusing them of?,

b) as BF has said, the days of "ambush tactics" are gone, so if the case goes to trial, "the details leaking back to the builder" would "leak" back to them when the claim was put in anyway.

 

You certainly should complain (how do you know it was the barrister, BTW?, did you hear her discussing it?), but I'd shy away from claims you can't show, such as claiming "dishonesty" or "it has ruined my claim!"

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Barristers are bound by a duty of confidentiality to their clients. If you feel that has been breached you can make a complaint to the chambers and/or to the bar Standards Board. However I would wait until after the case has concluded. It is not a good idea to start raising complaints in the middle of a case.

 

I do not see how this would affect your case. You need to remember that there is a disclosure process involved in any court proceedings. You will be required to disclose all of the details of your case - including all the evidence you intend to rely on, and the legal arguments you are making, BEFORE you get to the trial. You cannot wait until you are in front of the judge to produce evidence or make arguments.

 

The English courts follow a 'cards on the table' approach. If you try to raise new arguments or introduce new evidence at the trial, there is a very good chance that the judge will completely disregard your arguments/evidence. Or perhaps even punish you by ordering you to pay the builder costs for failing to comply with the court-ordered pre-trial disclosure process.

 

As the builder will have an opportunity to review your evidence and consider your arguments before you get to court anyway, I do not think it makes any difference if something "leaks" back to him.

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This has the potential of a very serious complaint.

 

I think that the best thing to do is to begin by making a complaint to the Bar Standards Board https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/complaints-and-professional-conduct/disciplinary-tribunals-and-findings/the-disciplinary-tribunal-process/

 

If they uphold the complaint then that will give you a good basis for bringing any other action which you think reasonable in order to address any losses you might have suffered. In order to bring an action against the barrister or anyone else, you will have to show that they did actually cause you some loss.

 

In terms of the damage which this might caused to your case against your builder, if you had a good case anyway then really it shouldn't make a lot of difference. You would have to disclose evidence anyway and of course it would all be aired in open court.

 

If you had a strong case then the fact that some information has been divulged in advance shouldn't make a lot of difference. If you had a very weak case then maybe you shouldn't be bringing the action anyway

 

I called the bar standards board and they told me it has to go via the legal ombudsman which seems strange.

 

This sounds like a breach of their duty of confidentiality, but:

a)where is the "dishonesty" you are accusing them of?,

b) as BF has said, the days of "ambush tactics" are gone, so if the case goes to trial, "the details leaking back to the builder" would "leak" back to them when the claim was put in anyway.

 

You certainly should complain (how do you know it was the barrister, BTW?, did you hear her discussing it?), but I'd shy away from claims you can't show, such as claiming "dishonesty" or "it has ruined my claim!"

 

a) I think I was feeling rather emotional when I said he has been dishonest. I guess is someone says they will treat what you tell them as confidential, it would be dishonest for them to go and chat about it with their friends at a later time? Maybe not.

 

I know it was the barrister as he told me. I have a feeling that one of my neighbours that I get on with was there at the time and it left him with no option but to tell me.

 

Barristers are bound by a duty of confidentiality to their clients. If you feel that has been breached you can make a complaint to the chambers and/or to the bar Standards Board. However I would wait until after the case has concluded. It is not a good idea to start raising complaints in the middle of a case.

 

I do not see how this would affect your case. You need to remember that there is a disclosure process involved in any court proceedings. You will be required to disclose all of the details of your case - including all the evidence you intend to rely on, and the legal arguments you are making, BEFORE you get to the trial. You cannot wait until you are in front of the judge to produce evidence or make arguments.

 

The English courts follow a 'cards on the table' approach. If you try to raise new arguments or introduce new evidence at the trial, there is a very good chance that the judge will completely disregard your arguments/evidence. Or perhaps even punish you by ordering you to pay the builder costs for failing to comply with the court-ordered pre-trial disclosure process.

 

As the builder will have an opportunity to review your evidence and consider your arguments before you get to court anyway, I do not think it makes any difference if something "leaks" back to him.

 

I understand that and it does make sense. But it infuriates me that my neighbours now know my personal information. How would you guys like it if your neighbours knew that you were struggling financially and that your business had gone down the drain? Its such a horrible feeling.

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I called the bar standards board and they told me it has to go via the legal ombudsman which seems strange.

 

Why is that strange?. The LO can deal with 'poor service' (which the BSB can't), and can refer issues to the BSB .......

 

 

 

The barrister thought it would be okay to talk to her friends

...........

 

 

Can anyone tell me if it is worth pursing a legal case against the barrister over her conduct

 

a) I think I was feeling rather emotional when I said he has been dishonest. I guess is someone says they will treat what you tell them as confidential, it would be dishonest for them to go and chat about it with their friends at a later time? Maybe not.

 

I know it was the barrister as he told me. I have a feeling that one of my neighbours that I get on with was there at the time and it left him with no option but to tell me.

 

So, they haven't been dishonest?.

Also, they were 'she' (twice!) in your earlier post, and 'he' (twice) in this subsequent one. Is the issue actually that they've had a gender reassignment rather than them being dishonest?.

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I understand that and it does make sense. But it infuriates me that my neighbours now know my personal information. How would you guys like it if your neighbours knew that you were struggling financially and that your business had gone down the drain? Its such a horrible feeling.

 

If you have a complaint, first thing you should do is contact the person you are complaining about. I think you will find the Legal Services Ombudsman will require you to do this as a matter of process in most situations.

 

If they breached your confidentiality by speaking to their friend who is your neighbour, then perhaps they have a chance to speak to them to ask that they do not saying anything more.

 

It can be a small world out there and people who are professionally required to keep things confidential can struggle with this. If your neighbour was aware that a friend was helping you, perhaps the neighbour asked this barrister what is was about and they simply stated 'dispute with builder', not thinking anything of it. This may be because they thought your neighbour was aware you had a dispute with a builder. Does nof mean the Barrister went through every legal aspect of your case.

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I do agree that it is frustrating. Barristers are under a strict duty of client confidentiality - this is one of the first things drilled in at law school - so it is disappointing if she chatted with friends about the details of your case.

 

This reminds me of the solicitor who acted for JK Rowling, who spoke to his wife about her new book, who then chatted with her friends. The solicitor was fined by the SRA and ended up having to make a substantial donation to charity to settle matters with JK Rowling! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25575269

 

If the facts are as you have described, I do agree that a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman is in order. Though perhaps once your case has finished!

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