Bar regulator apologises to QC over media leak

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Sep 20, 2017
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Khawar Qureshi, QC, has been exonerated of all misconduct charges

A QC has received an unprecedented apology from the Bar regulator after allegations of misconduct made against him were leaked to the media.

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) issued a public apology yesterday to Khawar Qureshi, QC, of Serle Court chambers in Lincoln’s Inn, in relation to “any distress or prejudice resulting from errors and delay on the part of the BSB prior to its dismissal of the allegations”.

The regulator made it clear that Qureshi had been exonerated of any misconduct.

The allegations involved an application in the High Court for a $100 million (£74 million) freezing order in a case between the Republic of Djibouti and Abdourahman Boreh, a London-based businessman.

Peter Gray, a partner at the Dubai office of the US law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, was found to have deliberately misled the court and was sacked by the firm.

Qureshi referred himself to the BSB in May 2015 after another barrister accused him of misleading the court. The referral was leaked to the media the following month.

The BSB dismissed two strands of the allegations within a month, but adjourned a view on a third strand until April last year “because of factors external to Mr Qureshi”. That allegation was dismissed at the end of the investigation in July last year.

Yesterday the BSB said that it had agreed a joint statement with Qureshi. In addition to the apology, it confirmed that “there are no outstanding proceedings against Mr Qureshi, QC, of any type and the BSB has no concerns about Mr Qureshi QC’s conduct; he retains an entirely unblemished professional record”.

Qureshi specialises in commercial litigation and public international law and was the youngest advocate to appear before the International Court of Justice. He was called in 1990 and took silk in 2006.

The BSB would not comment further on the matter and Qureshi was not available for comment. A spokesman for the silk said that he was “pleased that the BSB finally acknowledged very serious errors and delay in its conduct.

“He hopes that no more barristers are subjected to such treatment and that, in future, the BSB will be more robust in protecting the reputation of barristers. This is vital in the context of ever more aggressive litigation and the use of media for smear tactics.”

The spokesman said that Qureshi was concerned that “the mere fact of a self-report – made out of a sense of honour, in circumstances where there is no basis whatsoever for an allegation – may be used to besmirch a barrister’s reputation. 

"It is understood that this is the first time ever that the fact of a self-report was deliberately leaked to the press.”

The BSB denied responsibility for the leak, the spokesman said, adding that “neither Khawar Qureshi, QC, nor anyone connected to him was responsible either”.

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