Apsion v The Bar Standards Board

Reference: D2006/098&099

Court: Visitors to Lincoln's Inn

Judge: King J, Ms Marion Smith, Mr David Hall

Date of judgment: 10 Oct 2008

Summary: Appeal from the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Council of the Inns of Court - Whether Tribunal had been correct to conclude that the appellant did not have sufficient competence or expertise to advise in a defamation claim - Whether the charges infringed the Appellant's Art 10 rights

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Appearances: Adam Speker KC (Respondent) 


The Appellant was found guilty of three charges of professional misconduct and four charges of inadequate professional service by a disciplinary tribunal of the Inns of Court. The charges related to two complaints in respect of the advice the Appellant had provided and the documents he had drafted in a defamation claim for a Defendant.


Whether the Tribunal below erred in its findings and/or its sentence.


Dismissing the appeal; the charges had been made out to the requisite standard of proof and the Tribunal could not be criticised for reaching the decision it did on sentence. Article 10 of the ECHR did not allow a barrister to make assertions in a draft defence that were wholly improper, prejudicial to the administration of justice and likely to bring the profession into disrepute.


The only part of the judgment likely to be of general interest is the discussion at [59] to [70] about the amount of latitude a barrister is entitled to under Article 10 when defending his or her client.

This decision is the subject of an application by the Appellant to the European Court of Human Rights.

5RB‘s David Sherborne acted for the BSB at the Disciplinary Hearing below.