Barrister issues writ against MP

SOLE practitioner barrister Elikkos Georghiades has issued a writ against Labour MP barrister Gerald Bermingham accusing him of slander.

The writ, issued earlier this year, claims “damages for slander contained in a statement to the members of the chambers of Ivor Richards QC at 11 South Square, published on or about 28 March 1991 by the defendant.”

But Bermingham's lawyers have denied the allegations and say they will defend the writ vigorously.

The writ also seeks an injunction to prevent “similar words defamatory of the plaintiff” from being published again.

It is believed the action stems from an incident surrounding Georghiades' application to join 11 South Square.

An insider claims the application was rejected after Bermingham, who was practising at 11 South Square at the time, allegedly made the statement about Georghiades to barristers at the set.

Georghiades, who was practising at 6 Gray's Inn Square at the time, later moved to 8 King's Bench Walk.

Earlier this year he left those chambers to establish his own practice.

Bermingham, a solicitor-turned-barrister, is now a member of the chambers of Rene Wong at 2 King's Bench Walk.

Georghiades' solicitor Anne-Marie Pagett, a partner at Peter Carter-Ruck & Partners, says she is unable to indicate whether the case will be settled out of court.

“Ninety per cent of cases are settled out of court. Whether this one falls into that category or not, I don't know. At the moment I have no reason to suppose that it will be settled,” she says.

Pagett says she has not been notified of the defence which will be used by Bermingham's representatives at rival libel firm Mishcon De Reya, and no court date has been set.

Jonathan Dark, the solicitor assisting Mishcon De Reya partner Julie Scott-Bayfield with the case, says he is unable to comment on the particulars of the case.

An application to strike some sections of the statement of claim was made last Thursday.

Georghiades declined to comment. Bermingham was unavailable for comment.