Bar Council fights off negligence claims

The Bar Council has fought off a claim brought by a barrister against several officers of the Council for unlawful prosecution, breach of contract, and negligence.

Mr Justice Nelson ruled yesterday (Wednesday 20 December) that Paul Diamond’s claims against former Bar Council chair Guy Mansfield, Bar Council officers David Etherington QC and Richard Price QC and staff member Neil Mallon failed.

Diamond filed his claim after the Bar Council brought a disciplinary case against him for having commented on an ongoing case he was involved in, which is in breach of Bar regulations.

Diamond requested that the disciplinary hearing for the case be heard before a High Court judge. In May 2005 Mr Justice Hart ordered the case to be struck out. However, Diamond asked for it to continue to trial in order to examine the Bar Council’s prosecution procedures.

In July 2005 the disciplinary case was dropped by the Bar Council, but Diamond filed a claim against Mansfield, Etherington, Price and Mallon accusing them of unlawful prosecution and negligence in the performance of a statutory duty.

Nelson J said yesterday that the Bar Council had had a prima facie case in bringing the initial complaint against Diamond, because the article had been written and published.

He added that Diamond “has no real prospect of succeeding on any of the claims”, saying that the defendants had not harrassed Diamond, did not owe him a duty of care, and that there was no contract between Diamond and Mansfield to be breached.

Berrymans Lace Mawer partner Timothy Smith instructed Four New Square’s Roger Stewart QC for the Bar Council. Diamond represented himself.