Police launch Bar Council inquiry as barrister sues

The police are investigating the Bar Council after a barrister, claiming his independence was compromised, sued bar chair Guy Mansfield QC and other Bar Council officers.

Paul Diamond, a barrister practising from 1 Essex Court, has brought the case in response to a prosecution against him by the council.

In a claim form issued in the High Court in October, Diamond accuses Bar Council chair Mansfield, Bar Council officers David Etherington QC and Richard Price QC and staff member Neil Mallon of unlawful prosecution and negligence in the performance of a statutory duty.

“I want these QCs in court,” Diamond told The Lawyer. “I’m saying they broke bar rules in a premeditated attempt to damage a barrister’s practice.”

The prosecution brought by the Bar Council arose after an article written by Diamond appeared on the website of Christian group the Evangelical Alliance. The council said the piece was in breach of a rule prohibiting barristers from commenting on ongoing cases, and brought the complaint.

Diamond requested that the disciplinary hearing for the case be heard before a High Court judge. In May 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.

The case is yet to be heard, but Diamond has filed his own case as well as complaining to the Metropolitan Police about the council’s prosecution procedures. A police investigation is understood to be underway.

Diamond claims the case will have a “chilling effect” on barristers’ independence.

The Bar Council is understood to have instructed Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw to defend the allegations.

The Bar Council declined to comment.