Bar Council in disciplinary volte-face

The Bar Council’s Professional Conduct and Complaints Committee has overturned its own decision to rule against one of its members, six months after the Legal Services Ombudsman ordered it to reconsider the matter.

In a 9 June report, the committee adjudication panel found that barrister Galina Ward, then of 29 Bedford Row, had provided an “inadequate professional service”.

The report criticises a draft amended counterclaim filed by Ward in 2001 for Mr and Mrs McLellan. The decision says that, due to deficiencies in the claim and it being filed too late to amend, the application to amend was aborted, exposing them to costs.

It orders Ward, now at Landmark Chambers, to pay £3,761.25 to the couple, inclu-ding £1,000 for general injury and inconvenience. Ward is considering an appeal.

The decision comes almost two years after the Bar Coun-cil threw out the complaints, prompting a scathing report by Legal Services Ombuds-man Zahida Manzoor, which found “serious flaws” in the Bar Council’s handling of the matter and recommended that it pay £1,500 to compensate for its handling of a related complaint, ultimately rejected, against Nicholas Bowen of 29 Bedford Row. It also criticised the Bar Council’s conduct towards its own members.

The Bar Council declined to comment.