High Court dismisses Blacker appeal
Lord Harley's failure to attend SDT was â€˜entirely voluntary'
The High Court has backed a tribunal decision to strike off solicitor advocate Alan Blacker, bringing a saga almost as long as JK Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise to a close.
Last summer, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal struck off and fined ‘Lord Harley’ for several acts of misconduct in a hearing that the lawyer failed to attend.
Described as ‘something out of Harry Potter’ by Judge David Wynn Morgan in 2014, Blacker failed to maintain accounts while working as an in-house solicitor at the Joint Armed Forces Legal Advocacy Service charity and made inaccurate and misleading statements regarding his academic qualifications and past accreditations.
Before Mr Justice William Davis in the High Court, Dr Anton van Dellen of Goldsmith Chambers, acting pro bono for Blacker, argued that the SDT had treated his client unfairly by failing to take into account his medical condition and relocate the hearing closer to his Rochdale home.
Van Dellen said Blacker could not attend the London hearing because of heart and lung complaints. However, Davis J said the tribunal had acted within its judicial function and also supported the SDT’s order to make Blacker pay £86,000 in prosecution costs.
‘His failure to attend was entirely voluntary,’ said the judge. ‘Of course he was at a disadvantage by not being there to answer serious allegations but that was of his own doing and his alone.’
Blacker has yet to begin paying the SDT costs, and must now also pay High Court costs totalling £15,237.
No further appeal is expected, according to van Dellen, so the court’s decision should spell the end to this less than magical legal battle.