Steele, Cain and Trump, probably not getting together anytime soon.
Nicola Cain, the former BBC barrister who became a partner at RPC, has been banned from working in law firms.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority said that her conduct while at RPC meant it was "undesirable for her to be involved in a legal practice".
Its order published this week prevents solicitors, their employees, and SRA-regulated businesses from employing or paying Cain without the SRA's prior permission, just in case anyone was willing to overlook her past errors in light of her legal prowess.
Before moving to RPC's highly regarded media practice in 2017, Cain was a rising star at the BBC, and was feted in the Times as a hot prospect. In an interview with the paper in 2012 she said her worst day as a lawyer was "a toss-up between a client throwing a chair at my head when I was an outdoor clerk, and developing flu on day one of a challenging tribunal case". Her picks have probably been surpassed by a few days since then.
Cain admitted fabricating a court order to fool her client, Christopher Steele, while she defended him in defamation proceedings brought by a Russian businessman he had named in his infamous ‘Trump dossier'.
Cain forged Senior Master Fontaine's signature in a fake order which she used to mislead Steele and prevent him from finding out that she had failed to comply with routine disclosure obligations, and that the claimant had applied to strike out Steele's defence as a result.
When a hearing was arranged to sort out the mess, Cain intercepted a court order requiring Steele to pay the claimant's £9,000 costs, and altered its wording before Steele saw it so that the sum appeared to relate to an extra witness statement instead of her bungle.
In her BSB hearing, Cain admitted five charges of professional misconduct, which included misleading Steele on another occasion by requesting "urgent instructions" from him for a hearing which had actually taken place the day before.
Cain was pulled from the case once her actions came to light, putting RPC in the position of having to testify that its own lawyer had “actively, seriously and repeatedly misled" its client, and she later left the firm.
The former barrister was ordered to pay the SRA's £300 costs. She told RollOnFriday as part of a longer statement, "It is with some disappointment that the SRA has only now addressed the matters that I self-reported to them and the BSB in 2020. The SRA’s decision does not raise any new issues regarding my conduct. The finding relates to matters which took place over a brief period in December 2019-January 2020, some 3 years ago, at a time when, as both the BSB and RPC accepted, I had not had appropriate resource to fulfil my professional obligations".
"I sincerely regret and have apologised for my conduct, which was recognised by TBTAS [The Bar Tribunal and Adjudication Services] as being isolated, not representative of my personal or professional conduct and not likely to be repeated", she said.
"I remain grateful to those clients, colleagues, peers and friends who have supported me throughout this period", added Cain.
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