It only he was on a 1950s gameshow, it would have been acceptable.

A barrister has been disbarred after Eversheds Sutherland caught him submitting a fake invoice, which doubled his fee to £1,000.

Julian Boyd Orr was instructed to represent a claimant in a consumer credit action against a bank. He agreed a fee of £500 plus VAT for a case management conference (CMC) held in July 2020. But he ended up effectively doubling the fee, by submitting two invoices, each of £500.

The case settled and the defendants were ordered to pay the claimant’s costs, and so the claimant’s solicitors forwarded details to support those costs.

Orr's fee notes were unusual, as they were not issued on chambers’ behalf or on chambers’ paper, but were instead issued by a consulting business, controlled by the barrister.

Eversheds Sutherland, the defendants' solicitors, challenged the invoice. Orr then instructed his clerks to issue a fee note on chambers' paper for his attendance of the CMC, although the sum claimed “wrongly remained £1,000”.

At a detailed assessment of costs, Orr produced a witness statement in which he blamed the pandemic for the additional £500 fee note being issued by his consultancy business. However, his chambers' clerks had remained fully functional at the time.

The Bar Standards Board brought the matter before the disciplinary tribunal. The panel said that it was unclear why the invoices were sent by Orr's consulting business, and it appeared that his chambers were "unaware of the existence" of the invoices.

The barrister's actions were “a dishonest attempt" to gain "an excess payment from the defendant in the action of £500 to which he was not entitled,” said the tribunal.

Orr initially blamed his chambers for billing the hearing at £1,000. But the tribunal held that “they were blameless" as the barrister "was entirely responsible for the increased fee" as he "had issued his inflated fee note two months before his chambers were involved at all”.

The tribunal found that the barrister had acted dishonestly in subsequently seeking to explain the higher fee in his witness statement for the assessment proceedings. And noted that the claim for costs had to be abandoned, as "they were dishonestly made and obviously so". 

Orr admitted 11 charges to the tribunal, which included creating a false fee note for £500, making untrue statements in his signed witness statement and misleading or attempting to mislead the court in doing so.

The tribunal said Orr gave "no valid reason" for issuing the additional invoice, and in the absence of exceptional circumstances, the panel disbarred the barrister and ordered that he pay £2,400 in costs.

A BSB spokesperson said: “The Tribunal found that Mr Orr had acted dishonestly in relation to this fee note and their decision to disbar Mr Orr reflects the fact that dishonesty is wholly incompatible with membership of the Bar."

The decision is open to appeal.

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Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 03 May 24 09:08

Yet nobody has been disbarred / disqualified for the UK’s largest miscarriage of justice 


Anonymous 03 May 24 10:27

@anonymous 9.08

If you are referring to the Post Office, the SRA cannot pre-empt the inquiry and any resulting criminal proceedings. However, I'm sure they are keeping a beady 👁️on matters. 

Anonymous 03 May 24 10:27

@anonymous 9.08

If you are referring to the Post Office, the SRA cannot pre-empt the inquiry and any resulting criminal proceedings. However, I'm sure they are keeping a beady 👁️on matters. 

Lord Lester 03 May 24 10:41

There's the gold standard of legal regulation right there.

Sending invoices for less than £10k? Strike 'em off!

Anon 03 May 24 10:49

This is almost exactly what Ian Mann of Harneys did: 

It is clear that Mann would have been disbarred had he been convicted now.

ROF BOT 03 May 24 13:37

@Anon 10:49 - no surprises there, and no surprises that IMann was Hornys M.P. Awful firm.

Anonymous 04 May 24 11:09

£500 for a CMC feels right if a simple directions hearing. £1,000 if involves annoying costs budgeting. 

Anon 07 May 24 10:29

ROF BOT 03 May 24 13:37 - yes and don’t forget the dregs of the legal profession head offshore. They are a bunch of failed lawyers. So it’s unsurprising that they lack moral (as well as technical) standards.

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