A man has been jailed after falsely pretending to be a barrister and working on 18 cases, despite having no legal qualifications.
Scott Willey attended City Law School in London but failed to pass his exams. When applying for a pupillage at 4 Brick Court he was economical with the actualité, telling his interviewers that he was judged "Very Competent" on the Bar Professional Training Course. He was certainly competent at fraud. In order to trick the chambers, Willey had hacked a colleague's email account at his previous job and stolen a copy of their practising certificate. He then edited it to create a fake practising certificate for himself. He had also falsely used another ex-colleague's Bar Council membership number which he provided to the Bar Standards Board and to the chambers.
"If anything, we thought Scott seemed overqualified."
With an impressive but fictitious CV, Willey obtained a £16,000 pupillage award from 4 Brick Court and started work at the chambers in October 2017. He worked on 18 cases, until the chambers discovered inconsistencies about his qualifications in June 2018. One of the cases has since had a rehearing because of Willey's involvement.
Fraud investigators told Inner London crown court that Willey was fixated on his "dream job" in law. In his defence, Willey said that he had been diagnosed for a low-grade neurological tumour in 2008. But the court deemed that the faux barrister was continuing his deceit when he claimed that the symptoms had returned.
Judge Usha Karu described Willey's fraud as a "deliberate and sustained dishonesty" and a "gross breach of trust". The court sentenced Willey to two years and three months in prison for offences including fraud by false representation, unauthorised access to computer material and making articles for use in fraud. Willey's defence barrister said that his client was "deeply, deeply sorry".
4 Brick Court did not reply to a request for comment.