BSB under fire again
Barristers’ regulator publishes potentially defamatory tweet
Barristers have reacted with anger to a tweet published by their regulator yesterday. It says:
The problem is that there are at least three barristers called Jonathan Turner.
A press release published by the Bar Standards Board gives little more information about the Turner in question, apart from saying that he was called to the Bar by Inner Temple in November 1999.
My search of the barristers’ register suggests that this may refer to Jonathan James Turner of Kenworthy’s Chambers in Manchester.
It is clearly not the more high-profile Jonathan DC Turner of Three Stone chambers in London, who was called in 1982.
Nor is it Jonathan R Turner KC of Monckton Chambers, who was called in 1988.
All journalists and publishers know that it is essential to provide as much identifying information as possible about someone accused of wrongdoing in order to eliminate others who may have a similar name.
After I drew attention to this on Twitter last night, one barrister who knows Jonathan DC Turner well said it had taken him a while to work out that he was not the Turner referred to. “It really troubles me the BSB could do this in such a blasé fashion,” Turner’s friend told me.
Others took to Twitter:
Last week, the Bar Standards Board had to apologise to Dinah Rose KC for considering a complaint against her without giving her an opportunity to be heard.
Update 0800: A reader points out that the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service has not yet published its ruling on the case, even though the hearing was on Monday. The defendant is described as Jonathan Turner of Inner Temple, though that may be because the tribunal was not given any more information about the defendant when the case was listed.
Update 1330: The press notice now refers to Jonathan James Turner of Manchester and the offending tweet has disappeared.
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So sorry- Paul McGrath. What’s in a name? Well, a lot, actually, and my error is perhaps a case of res ipsa?
Indeed Graham McGrath: can you imagine what confusion and/or danger to reputation might be occasioned with as I recall 180,000 plus solicitors in England and Wales should an equally casual approach were to be adopted by the Law Society or the SRA?
I HOPE that that might never happen- might it?