O’Connor v Bar Standards Board: SC 6 Dec 2017

The claimant barrister complained of the manner of conduct of the disciplinary proceedings brought against her. She had been cleared of any breach of the Bar Code of Conduct, but her claim was then ruled out of time under section 7(5)(a), time having begun on the initial ruling against her.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The Appellant’s challenge was to the disciplinary proceedings against her, not to an alleged state of affairs in which BME lawyers were more likely to be the subject of such proceedings. Therefore, the bringing and pursuit of the disciplinary proceedings must be the focus of the investigation in terms of section 7(5)(a) of the 1998 Act. That section must not be read narrowly and must be allowed to provide an affective and workable remedy, particularly where what was complained of was a course of conduct. Here, there had been a single and continuing action. It had not been Parliament’s intention to have limitation calculated individually from each element of the process. The period ran from when the process ceased, not from when it began, and in this case it was from the time when the Visitors eventually allowed her appeal.


Lady Hale, President, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lady Black, Lord Lloyd-Jones


[2017] UKSC 78, [2018] 2 All ER 779, [2017] WLR(D) 813, [2017] 1 WLR 4833, [2018] HRLR 2, UKSC 2016/0174


Bailii, WLRD, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary, SC Videos Summary, SC 2017 Oct 04 am Video, SC 2017 Oct 04 pm Video


European Convention on Human Rights 14


England and Wales


At QBDO’Connor v Bar Standards Board QBD 18-Dec-2014
Appeal against an order of Deputy Master Eyre by which he struck out the appellant’s statements of case and dismissed the action with judgment for the defendant with costs. The claimant said that the procedures adopted by the Board in disciplinary . .
Appeal fromO’Connor v Bar Standards Board CA 25-Jul-2016
The appellant said that the Board had infringed her human rights in its approach to disciplinary proceedings brought against her. She had been cleared and now sought a remedy. The Board successfully argued that her claims were out of time.
CitedDH v Czech Republic ECHR 13-Nov-2007
(Grand Chamber) The applicants complained that their children had been moved to special schools which did not reflect their needs from ordinary schools without them being consulted.
Held: The Court noted that, at the relevant time, the . .
CitedRehman v The Bar Standards Board Admn 29-Jul-2016
The barrister appealed against two findingd of the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Council of the Inns of Court. . .
CitedLincoln v Daniels CA 1961
The defendant claimed absolute immunity in respect of communications sent by him to the Bar Council alleging professional misconduct by the plaintiff, a Queen’s Counsel.
Held: Initial communications sent to the secretary of the Bar Council . .
CitedIn re S (A Barrister) 1970
(Inns of Court) The regulation of barristers has been delegated by the judges to the Inns of Court. Five judges sitting as Visitors of the Inns of Court stated that ‘the judges as visitors have always had supervisory powers and their decision, upon . .
CitedDelcourt v Belgium ECHR 17-Jan-1970
The applicant had failed in appeals against conviction and sentence for offences of fraud and forgery before the Belgian Cour de Cassation. He complained that he had not enjoyed the right to a fair trial recognised by Article 6(1) of the Convention . .
CitedSampanis and Others v Greece ECHR 8-Aug-2011
Resolution as to execution of judgment . .
CitedOrsus And Others v Croatia ECHR 16-Mar-2010
(Grand Chamber) Fifteen Croatians of Roma origin complained that they were victims of racial discrimination in that they were segregated into Roma-only classes and consequently suffered educational, psychological and emotional damage.
Held: . .
CitedEckle v Germany ECHR 15-Jul-1982
Two fraud prosecutions against the claimants had lasted for 15 and 20 years respectively.
Held: Article 6.1 applies to all stages of criminal proceedings, including sentencing and any appeal. The ‘reasonable time’ in criminal matters, . .
CitedRegina v Visitors to the Inns of Court ex parte Calder CA 1993
Two barristers had been struck off for disciplinary offences. Their appeals were heard by three High Court judges sitting as Visitors, who dismissed the appeals. The barristers now sought judicial review of that decision.
Held: Justices . .
CitedSomerville v Scottish Ministers HL 24-Oct-2007
The claimants complained of their segregation while in prison. Several preliminary questions were to be decided: whether damages might be payable for breach of a Convention Right; wheher the act of a prison governor was the act of the executive; . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Legal Professions, Human Rights, Discrimination, Limitation

Updated: 27 November 2022; Ref: scu.599756