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The High Court has supported the highly unusual step of prohibiting a barrister from acting in family proceedings because of personal animosity between them and one of the parties.

In Ahmed v Iqbal (Order Preventing Counsel from Acting), the Honourable Mr Justice MacDonald upheld the decision of District Judge Carr to prohibit family law specialist Sima Najma, called in 2013, from accepting further instructions from the father in the Children Act contact proceedings.

Carr had concluded in June that Najma made a ‘highly personalised’ response to the mother’s allegations of misconduct which was inconsistent with an advocate’s objective independence. The judge had said that to resolve a dispute about childcare arrangements then counsel for the parties had a vital role to act as intermediaries, but this may be unachievable if either advocate has become personally embroiled.

Following an appeal, MacDonald said the judge had been entitled to conclude that if Najma cross-examined the mother it would give rise to an ‘apprehension of unfairness’ and a sense that counsel ‘may not only be putting her client’s case but also her own’.

Read the full article here: Law Gazette

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