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26/08/2007

The summer of dodgy lawyers continues.

An extraordinary tale in today’s Observer.

Bruce Hyman, a practising barrister, has pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice. The full story is at the link, but what apparently happened was that Hyman, representing a client in a family case (over access rights), went to a Tottenham Court Road computer shop and emailed a bogus judgment to the other side – the father, appearing in person. The email purported to be from Families Need Fathers and the judgment apparently supportive of the father’s case.

The father naturally presented the judgment at the Court hearing, at which point Hyman pounced, suggesting the father was responsible for forging the judgment. The father was left facing a charge of perverting the course of justice and costs.

Hyman’s downfall only came about because the father managed to trace the IP address of the origin of the email and obtained CCTV footage from the computer shop for the relevant day, which, to his astonishment, showed Hyman using a laptop. Finally, he managed to get the police interested.

Hyman didn’t have a family practice and was apparently acting for a friend and business partner in the case. Reportedly, he continued to work on the case after being arrested.

Just to keep it topical, Hyman is the chairman of a big media production company (and a mate of Clive Anderson) and had relatively recently turned to the law (This was one of his first cases). It seems that a media attitude to veracity is a transferable skill.

Choice quote from an anonymous ‘acquaintance’:

He was in love with the law in the same way that some middle-aged men are in love with the idea of being a rock star.

Nearly Legal is fairly sure that his own ‘middle-aged’ turn to the law is not the equivalent of air guitar and inappropriately tight trousers, but who knows?

[Edit. Google suggests that Hyman was involved with mental health law and at Doughty Street Chambers. He does not/no longer exists on Doughty Street’s website. For anyone who doesn’t know, Doughty Street is a major Human Rights Chambers. Oh dear.]

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

5 Comments

  1. Charon

    Nearly Legal… thank god you are safe… there are so few UK Law bloggers left… we shall do our duty

    Charon

    Reply
  2. Charon

    I am reading Dawkins’ book ‘The God delusion’. In the light of this, I must, revise my earlier post to excise ‘god’ for ‘science and empirical evidence’… you are safe

    Reply
  3. John Bolch

    “It seems that a media attitude to veracity is a transferable skill”. Superb. Looking forward to your air guitar and tight trousers at the next blawg conference! ;-)

    Reply
  4. lawminx

    What an absolute Dickhead. How likely is it that he will be disbarred, , or even sent to jail?? What will his defence be, I wonder? – ” Oh, I’m sorry Your Honnour/My Lord, I didnt know anything about family law” What ever happened to the maxim Ignorance of the Law is no Excuse?
    I’m sorry to have gone off on a bit of a rant on this one, but Mr Hyman’s gross untrustworthiness has really curdled the milk for me at the moment!

    Reply
  5. contact

    I would expect him to be in very serious trouble – certainly disbarred, probably jail.

    As a barrister, he has a primary duty to the Court, more so when the opponent is in person. He has trampled over that and criminally perverted the course of justice. These are primary duties, regardless of the area of law. The Courts tend not to take this lightly, particularly from a barrister.

    I would also imagine he will face a civil claim from the father. Not my area at all, but defamation perhaps? Any suggestions?

    Depending on what she knew, a negligience claim by his client might also be in the offing.

    It is an astonishing story.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  2. Freedom of Information « Ruthie’s Law - [...] a mere trainee solicitor to point this out, but Doughty Street’s airbushing had already been noted, along with the…

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