• Sunday, June 23, 2024

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Barrister suspended for not paying former law firm partner

Barrister Zaheer Ahmad employed a solicitor as a salaried partner, who later launched proceedings claiming he has not been paid his dues

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By: Shajil Kumar

An Asian-origin barrister has been suspended for six months by a Bar disciplinary tribunal for failure to comply with a court order to pay £54,600 to a former salaried partner in his law firm.

The barrister, Zaheer Ahmad, owned and ran the law firm Regents & Co Solicitors (Solicitor-Advocate) Ltd between 2007 and October 2019, Legal Futures reports.

Though he was called to the Bar in October 2011, he did not practice as a barrister until October 2019.

He employed a solicitor as a salaried partner at Regents & Co between June 2011 and May 2013. But a year later the solicitor launched proceedings, claiming he had not been paid sums due to him under a partnership agreement.

The trial District Judge Swan ruled in favour of the claimant and ordered Ahmad and Regents to pay £54,600 plus £9,400 on account of costs.

Ahmad challenged it in several hearings over the following years by maintaining that the judgment was unfair and unjust, but the earlier order was upheld.

The solicitor had in December 2020 reported Ahmad to the Bar Standards Board (BSB) for failure to comply with the court order.

The tribunal said the barrister had been “out of the country at various times between 2015 and 2022”.

Despite several unsuccessful appeals by Ahmad, the “bottom line” was that he owed the initial amount, together with interest at the judgment rate for the first six years.

Only in May 2023 did the barrister begin to pay the debt, with £42,500 paid in installments.

The tribunal found that the barrister had behaved in a way likely to diminish trust and confidence in the profession.

Since Ahmad’s appeal at the High Court was pending, the tribunal’s suspension will not take effect until the High Court has considered his appeal.

He was also ordered to pay £2,500 in costs.

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