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Barrister suspended for 14 months after repeated acts of dishonesty

Family lawyer attempted to conceal public access instruction that he was not authorised to accept

26 April 2016

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A barrister has been reprimanded and suspended from practice after acting for a lay client without being authorised for public access.

Dominic Brazil was suspended for 14 months by an independent disciplinary tribunal on 20 April. The barrister, who practised from 1 King's Bench Walk chambers, specialised in matrimonial finance, property disputes involving co-habitees, and professional negligence.

The tribunal found that Brazil had repeatedly acted dishonestly when trying to conceal from his chambers that he had taken instructions directly from a lay client without being authorised for public access work.

The barrister also initially attempted to cover up the fact that he had taken fees directly from the client when not permitted to do so and had them paid into his private bank account.

The tribunal considered a number of mitigating factors when ordering Brazil's suspension.

Brazil, who was called to the Bar by Middle Temple in November 1995, admitted the charges, repaid the client's fees, co-operated fully with the Bar Standards Board's (BSB) investigation, and suspended himself voluntarily from practice on 1 January 2015. He has not practised since.

A BSB spokesperson said: 'We note the tribunal's decision to suspend Mr Brazil for 14 months. His actions were not of the standard expected of a practising barrister and the decision reflects this.'

The sentence is open to appeal.

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Risk & Compliance The Bar