A Fight at the Opera.

A barrister who lamped a German fashion designer at the opera has been banned from practising law for a year.

Matthew Feargrieve was settling down for a performance of Siegfried at the Royal Opera House in October 2018 when Ulrich Engler, a German fashion designer, attempted to take the empty seat next to Feargrieve's wife, Catherine Chandler, just before the curtain went up. 

Chandler's coat was on the empty seat and she objected when Engler asked if he could sit there. Engler asked Chandler if she’d paid for the spare seat, to which she replied that she had not. 

Engler testified that he then placed Chandler's coat on her lap, while she claimed that he tossed it on the floor.

As the performance began, Feargrieve leaned over his wife and subjected Engler to a "constant flow of blows", telling the designer, "How dare you talk to my wife like that?"

"I have never seen someone looking with so much anger and terror at me", Engler said.

Feargrieve put out his own shoulder punching Engler and officers initially arrested the fashion designer on suspicion of grevious bodily harm. He spent the night in the cells and was also banned from the Royal Opera House.

Feargrieve was convicted of common assault, and a mere four and a half years later the Bar disciplinary tribunal has ruled that Feargrieve's auditorium smackdown "was likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in him or in the profession" and has ordered the Bar Standards Board not to issue him with a practising certificate for 12 months.

Feargrieve now runs his own consultancy, having previously been a partner at Withers and offshore firms Ozannes and Appleby. Neither he nor Engler responded to a request for arias.

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Tip Off ROF


Churlish International Arbitrator 21 June 24 09:39

Court litigation is outdated and will eventually be replaced by international arbitration for all major international disputes. Nevertheless, settlement of disputes by force could be as effective, and Fearsome Feargrieve would be a suitable candidate for the work.

Anonymous 21 June 24 09:56

"A barrister who lamped a German fashion designer at the opera has been banned from practising law for a year."

Literally everything that is wrong with this country.

Once upon a time we had an Empire and would have made this man a KC. 

But these days we're too timid to let real men walk the streets, and we need four years of paper-shuffling and committees to even come to a decision to say so out loud. No wonder China thinks we're a joke.

Lord Sumptuos 21 June 24 11:14

All terribly amusing to make jokes about violence, class and nationality but really...


Can these people not afford the cloakroom.


Who on earth let them in?

Class 21 June 24 19:39

Surely the key question is - if this chap is a barrister of any calibre - why was he not in a private box?

Scep Tick 21 June 24 21:11

Had he done that in 1944 he would have got a medal. Surely Mr Feargrieve is guilty of nothing more than bad timing. 

3-ducks 27 June 24 18:19

What a disgrace to the profession. 

I hope that Herr Engler, who is not only (apparently) entirely innocent, but also suffered the indignity of spending a night in the cells, has had his ROH ban lifted. 

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