Chair: John Gould
Speakers: Alisdair Williamson QC, Patricia Robertson QC and Natasha Tahta
Description: At this seminar our speakers, all of whom are closely involved in legal regulation, will analyse the much discussed judgment in Ryan Beckwith v Solicitors Regulation Authority , its implications for the future of the regulation of the solicitors’ profession and whether there are wider implications for other regulators.
The seminar will be chaired by John Gould
Alisdair Williamson QC (appeared for Ryan Beckwith):
- What were the facts in the Beckwith case?
- What were the issues at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and how were they to affect the High Court’s decision?
- What was the High Court’s decision?
- Do we have adequate tools for regulation of the professions?
Patricia Robertson QC:
- Can Beckwith be reconciled with the Divisional Court Judgment in SRA v Leigh Day or are they inconsistent:
- Have they unnecessarily thrown the baby out with the bath water in ditching an over-arching concept of serious professional misconduct?
- How else could they have tackled the public/private divide (other than by shackling principle 2 and 6 to the underlying rules)?
- How will this decision impact how regulators need to draft their rules?
A Prosecutor’s view:
- Are there logical inconsistencies within the judgement?
- Do free-standing principles create legal uncertainty?
- How have other regulators been affected by the judgment?
- A personal view of the long term effect on regulators
John Gould is the Senior Partner of Russell-Cooke LLP and the author of the Law of Legal Services and Practice (LexisNexis), now in its second edition.
He is a leading figure in the field of lawyer regulation acting in many of the significant cases over the past decade.
John advises a variety of legal regulators as well as acting for many leading law firms, solicitors and counsel in relation to regulatory and structural issues.
Alisdair Williamson QC, Three Raymond Buildings, practises in serious crime and professional discipline. He has particular expertise in homicide, fraud, and difficult, complex sexual offences. Notable recent cases include the leading case of SRA v Beckwith  EWHC 3231 (on the extent of the regulator’s reach into professionals’ private lives, and the meaning of integrity); R v Harrison and others – the manslaughter trial arising from the deaths of 39 Vietnamese immigrants sealed in a lorry container; the inquiry into the death of Daniel Morgan; and Metropolitan Police v PC Birks and others – the police discipline proceedings arising from the death of Sean Rigg. He acted for the original solicitors for Ched Evans, the footballer, in the professional negligence action arising from Evans’ rape conviction; and is a member of the Criminal Bar Association’s Working Party on section 41 (regulating cross-examination about sexual history).
Patricia Robertson QC, Fountain Court, frequently appears in high profile disciplinary cases before the SDT, as well as acting for and against a number of regulators in the financial services sector. She has frequently advised firms on the handling of #MeToo allegations and successfully defended disciplinary proceedings brought against Baker McKenzie and others relating to the firm’s investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct against the then managing partner: SRA v Senior and others. She acted for all Respondents in SRA v Martyn Day and others, at the conclusion of which all 19 allegations were dismissed against all of her clients, a decision subsequently upheld by the Divisional Court. Patricia has contributed to leading textbooks on regulation of legal services. She was Vice Chair of the Bar Standards Board 2013-2015. She was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge in 2016. She is a member of the Abu Dhabi Global Markets Appeal Panel and of an expert panel advising the Astana International Financial Centre on regulatory matters.
Natasha Tahta, QEB Hollis Whiteman, specialises in regulatory work after 15 years of a highly successful criminal practice involving a wide range of criminal work, both prosecution and defence, in all levels of courts from the Magistrates to the Supreme Court.
Natasha has vast experience across a broad spectrum of regulators, tribunals and hearings with a particular focus on the healthcare professions. Her experience includes Health and Safety, Licensing, Gaming, Trading Standards, and she regularly presents at various stages of the legal process for the General Medical Council, General Dental Council, Nursing & Midwifery Council and the Solicitors Regulation Authority. She was on the Attorney-General’s List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Health and Safety and Environmental Law and is on the General Medical Council’s list of approved counsel.
Natasha’s practice regularly involves high profile cases, these have included: presenting against a Doctor erased following Sunday Times undercover investigation into doping of British cycling professionals; presenting against an ex RAF Doctor who was subsequently suspended for sexually motivated covert filming of women in public places; presenting against a solicitor who was struck off for dishonesty after raising £19 million from members of the public using misleading marketing material.