Barrister / solicitor with criminal record? Watch

BigandBeautiful
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#1
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#1
Hi all,

I'm a fairly recent uni grad with a number of convictions for common assault and public order offences (it's all part of one situation that's now hopefully resolved).

Would this 100% bar me from becoming a barrister or solicitor? I know it'll be a disadvantage getting a TC or pupillage, but will the SRA or the Bar body actually prevent me from qualifiying?

Cheers,

BigandBeautiful
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Chakede
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#2
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how would you have ' a number of convictions for common assault and public order offences (it's all part of one situation )' - ? unless you were part of some mass mob that attacked numerous victims, in which case cant really see how you envisage your self as a professional of any sort
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Reality Check
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(Original post by BigandBeautiful)
Hi all,

I'm a fairly recent uni grad with a number of convictions for common assault and public order offences (it's all part of one situation that's now hopefully resolved).

Would this 100% bar me from becoming a barrister or solicitor? I know it'll be a disadvantage getting a TC or pupillage, but will the SRA or the Bar body actually prevent me from qualifiying?

Cheers,

BigandBeautiful
See here. Specifically, you are extremely unlikely to be admitted if you have more than one conviction.

Sorry. You can see the rationale behind it, though.
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999tigger
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(Original post by BigandBeautiful)
Hi all,

I'm a fairly recent uni grad with a number of convictions for common assault and public order offences (it's all part of one situation that's now hopefully resolved).

Would this 100% bar me from becoming a barrister or solicitor? I know it'll be a disadvantage getting a TC or pupillage, but will the SRA or the Bar body actually prevent me from qualifiying?

Cheers,

BigandBeautiful
It doesn't have to be. You will normally apply and the bar council or the SRA will review your application and what you have to say. they will then decide whether you merit being entered into the applicable profession. Did you get a custodial sentence? If so how often how many offences and how long?? How old were you at the time?

If you are already a grad , then are we talking about a non law degree?
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Reality Check
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(Original post by J-SP)
Although I didn't agree with the decision, I have known the SRA to allow someone to practice with multiple convictions (and I mean close to double digit figures), but in that situation there were mitigating circumstances to the convictions.
Double digit! Crikey - there must have been some pretty convincing mitigating circumstances on that application!
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BigandBeautiful
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Hi all,

1st in ppe Oxford.

Situation was a domestic between me and my ex bf, which escalated when friends etc got involved. This was after graduation.

Best
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999tigger
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(Original post by BigandBeautiful)
Hi all,

1st in ppe Oxford.

Situation was a domestic between me and my ex bf, which escalated when friends etc got involved. This was after graduation.

Best
All taken on case by case basis. I think if you mitigate effectively then you should be ok, but I recall its extra difficult if you received a custodial. All the details are on the SRA website and ive answered this in detail a number of times before.

They took Louise Woodward so am sure you can plead your case. If you get it sorted out with the SRA now then you shouldnt have an issue with employers.
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BigandBeautiful
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Hi all,

So I'll give a list of the offences:

1. Common assault on my then bf after a domestic situation. I served 3 weeks in prison before being released for time served.

2. Common assault on friend of ex bf in bar. Not guilty as self defence.

3. GBH on ex bf's brother when he was walking home drunk late at night (cracked skull). Not guilty as:
a. he was too drunk and concussed to remember anything about the event
b. only witness was too far away / too dark to tell who the assailant was
c. wallet taken so random pickpocketing a plausible explanation

4. s.4a public order. My ex bf was at home looking after his grandmother. I stood outside and sang an obscene song. When he, grandmother and dog came out, I said "nice dog. How often do you :innocent::innocent::innocent::innocent: it?" Fine

5. Common assault. Bouncer in gay bar who's a friend of my ex tried to chuck me out. He grabbed me from behind, I leant forward so he was on my back, he collapsed from heart condition, taken to hospital. Initially an ABH, downgraded to common assault after he got out of hospital. Community service with unpaid work

Also several s.5 public order offences against various friends family etc of his.

I should add that literally every single victim in this has multiple convictions from the same timeline for similar offences against me and my friends.

All took place over course of 11 months, and is a year ago now.

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Crazy Jamie
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#9
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Whilst it's a technical point, when you said that all of your convictions arose from the same situation, I assumed you meant from the same individual incident. For example, you could have been convicted on two counts of common assault if you punched two different people in a fight. In fact you have been convicted of numerous offences over an 11 month period, one of which resulted in a custodial sentence. On the face of it I would have thought that you would struggle to be admitted either by the SRA or the BSB.

That said, I have no experience of this situation either, and I would agree with J-SP that you need to contact the regulator(s) concerned and get information directly from them. You should be aware that if your ambition is to become a barrister you will also need to be admitted to one of the Inns of Court, and criminal convictions can cause you difficulties in that respect. You should therefore contact one or more of the Inns as well as the BSB if you want to be a barrister. I don't know if it a person would realistically be rejected from the Inns if they have been admitted by the BSB, but you do need to consider this issue from the perspective of the Inns as well as the BSB if that's the route you want to go down.

As a final point, if you get a negative response from either or both of the regulatory bodies, I would ask whether it would make a difference if the offences were more historical in nature. That won't help you right now, but with the passage of time (and, presumably, a long stretch where you have demonstrably improved your character) it may be that the situation changes somewhat, meaning that if it really is your dream to work in the legal sector, it may be something that you can pursue further down the line.
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Forum User
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(Original post by BigandBeautiful)
3. GBH on ex bf's brother when he was walking home drunk late at night (cracked skull). Not guilty as:
a. he was too drunk and concussed to remember anything about the event
b. only witness was too far away / too dark to tell who the assailant was
c. wallet taken so random pickpocketing a plausible explanation
But was it you?
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BigandBeautiful
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(Original post by Forum User)
But was it you?
I couldn't possibly gain say the decision of a court of law like that
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Crazy Jamie
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(Original post by BigandBeautiful)
I couldn't possibly gain say the decision of a court of law like that
The jury did not find that you didn't commit the offence. The jury found that there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you committed the offence. So you wouldn't be 'gainsaying' anything. In any event, notwithstanding that plenty can be implied from your reply without further detail, it should be blindingly obvious that you shouldn't answer that question.

I have to say that that reply, along with the decision to mention and the manner in which you described the offences that you were acquitted of, almost show a sense of pride in not being found guilty of offences that you've committed. In that regard I'd point particularly to the way that you have listed the reasons why you were found not guilty, when anyone who has ever seen a crown court trial will know that no reasons are provided by juries as to why they convict or acquit. That description is therefore just you recounting of what your case was in defending the charge, which you strangely seem to wear almost as a badge of honour.

Now as a snapshot of your character it may be that replies on an internet forum paint an inaccurate or incomplete picture, but nevertheless there is more than a hint here that you have a little way to go in terms of developing the character required to convince a regulatory body that it is appropriate for you to become a solicitor or barrister.
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BigandBeautiful
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(Original post by Crazy Jamie)
The jury did not find that you didn't commit the offence. The jury found that there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you committed the offence. So you wouldn't be 'gainsaying' anything. In any event, notwithstanding that plenty can be implied from your reply without further detail, it should be blindingly obvious that you shouldn't answer that question.

I have to say that that reply, along with the decision to mention and the manner in which you described the offences that you were acquitted of, almost show a sense of pride in not being found guilty of offences that you've committed. In that regard I'd point particularly to the way that you have listed the reasons why you were found not guilty, when anyone who has ever seen a crown court trial will know that no reasons are provided by juries as to why they convict or acquit. That description is therefore just you recounting of what your case was in defending the charge, which you strangely seem to wear almost as a badge of honour.

Now as a snapshot of your character it may be that replies on an internet forum paint an inaccurate or incomplete picture, but nevertheless there is more than a hint here that you have a little way to go in terms of developing the character required to convince a regulatory body that it is appropriate for you to become a solicitor or barrister.
You literally spend Saturday night telling the internet that taking pride in winning, particularly in a court, makes someone unsuited to being a barrister. You sure picked the right name, Crazy Jamie.

Just as a FYI, Crown Court representation is expensive, so I represented myself for all but the first of these offences, securing two not guilty verdicts, and getting the charges downgraded on the other two.
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katierebekah
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I would see if you could get someone to a position of authority or respected position to maybe speak for you or write a reference for you. You could also get doctors note explaining the improvement of mental health condition if there was one, you can try many ways to convince the board, however without nay effort, your chances could be significantly smaller of being admitted than someone who has no criminal convictions.
Message me if you would like to talk, I would also like to become a barrister / lawyer in the future.
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BigandBeautiful
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(Original post by J-SP)
Your attitude on this forum may speak volumes for how you would be perceived when the regulatory body reviews your specific circumstances. By what you have said, I think there is little chance of you being able to prove your suitability, unless you can claim some form of rehabilitation from a mental health issue.


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So two common assaults and one public order offence against a bunch of white trash is some kind of crime of the century?
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999tigger
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I think it is touch and go. You should try. You are clever enough to know how to present your own case. You did point to several S5 offences. You have a tough task on your hands to present yourself as someone suitable, especially considering your posting. If you arent choose about which branch of the profession you want, then at least you have two chances.
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Crazy Jamie
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(Original post by BigandBeautiful)
You literally spend Saturday night telling the internet that taking pride in winning, particularly in a court, makes someone unsuited to being a barrister. You sure picked the right name, Crazy Jamie.
No, I initially spent some time on my Saturday night attempt to assist someone who asked for help. Your subsequent responses have indicated that you may be beyond that help. Your last response to J-SP sounded very much like trolling, but if it wasn't then you have certainly displayed an attitude that is wholly inconsistent with practising as either a barrister or solicitor. Either way, I expect there is little if anything more than the members on this forum can do to help you.
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jacketpotato
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The SRA's guidance says they will refuse your application if you meet the criteria set out in their list. Unless you can prove exceptional circumstances.

You meet two different criteria - limb (a) which refers to a custodial or suspended sentence, and limb (j) which refers to two or more convictions.

There is a carve-out allowing the SRA to consider exceptional circumstances. But they must be truly exceptional. There is nothing exceptional about anything you've described in this thread.

That suggests to me that you wouldn't even be considered. It doesn't sound like you have any chance of getting through. I think you need to look at different career options.
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Rooster11366
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#19
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I suspect you will get knocked back with convictions.

Due to the DBS and vulnerable adults and children.

Then I think it is a non-starter
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999tigger
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(Original post by jacketpotato)
The SRA's guidance says they will refuse your application if you meet the criteria set out in their list. Unless you can prove exceptional circumstances.

You meet two different criteria - limb (a) which refers to a custodial or suspended sentence, and limb (j) which refers to two or more convictions.

There is a carve-out allowing the SRA to consider exceptional circumstances. But they must be truly exceptional. There is nothing exceptional about anything you've described in this thread.

That suggests to me that you wouldn't even be considered. It doesn't sound like you have any chance of getting through. I think you need to look at different career options.
That is where you plead your case and they take it case by case. Obviously if you are going to try and get through then you will say your situation is exceptional and tbf the detail wasnt really given. I doubt the panel will warm to the OP if she presents herself as she has done on the thread.
Someone with a first from Oxford can easily look the regulations up. She also has nothing to lose.
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