One of the country's highest paid civil barristers, Jeremy Rosenblatt, tried to double his publicly-funded legal fees by "wrongly claiming" for work, a hearing was told.
By Laura Roberts
Published: 10:02AM GMT 16 Feb 2010
Mr Rosenblatt attempted to claim payment for meetings he had not attended and legal research that was "not relevant", it was said.
The barrister was listed as the countrys highest-earning civil legal aid lawyer in 2008 with a total income of more than £500,000.
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He made his fortune through civil law, a number of self-help books including "How To Do Your Own Divorce", and numerous public appearances.
He now faces five charges of professional misconduct from his governing body, the Bar Standards Board (BSB).
It is alleged Rosenblatt submitted fee forms to a County Court Judge for approval where he "wrongly claimed money" for work.
If paid, his fees would have increased from a base rate of £230 to £1,223, the hearing was told.
But three of his proposed increments were rejected by the judge and he was eventually paid £678.
The charges relate to a disputed adoption case in May and October 2006.
Christopher Wilson, for the BSB, said: "In due course the matter came on for a hearing before Her Honour Judge Mayer on October 9, 2006 at the Royal Courts, at the conclusion of which Mr Rosenblatt handed in a completed Special
Issue Payments, a SIPS form, for certification by the judge.
"What he has done is ticked various boxes. It allows advocates to tick boxes that they invite the judge to certify as being applicable."
Rosenblatt ticked five boxes he was not entitled to under the Legal Services Commission guidance, it is claimed.
In one box he wrongly claimed a "special preparation fee" for 10 hours of legal research, the BSB was told.
At £40.20 an hour this would have added an extra £402 to his legal aid bill.
Mr Wilson added: "The background to this, the BSB says, is that every case requires legal research.
"It is only when the case becomes exceptionally complex that you can claim these amounts.
"The case that the BSB puts is that what he was claiming for was keeping up to date with placement orders. It has nothing to do with the facts of this case.
"In entering a figure in that box, he was claiming hours in excess of that normally carried out for proceedings of this type.
"Any figure he entered in this box for updating himself is something he was not entitled to claim.
"Clearly I say he falsely represented that the work was necessarily done for this case."
Rosenblatt had already charged for five hours during a previous hearing, it is claimed.
"The charges are firstly he was wrongly claiming money and secondly in any event he had already charged for it once before," the prosecutor added.
The barrister then claimed for two face-to-face meetings when only phone calls exchanges took place, it is alleged.
Under the rules, Rosenblatt was not eligible for the "graduated fee" for these calls, the BSB claims.
Rosenblatt, who works from chambers at 42 Bedford Row, in central London, denies five charges of professional misconduct.
Geoffrey Tattersall QC, defending, said the case was 'being ratcheted up' to include allegations of dishonesty.
Chambers and Partners, which publishes a directory of barristers and their chambers, describe Mr Rosenblatt as "a barrister with an uncompromising style" who “takes no prisoners” according to observers. Fluency of address and the will
to win characterise this advocate, who “seems to have a tongue that runs on ball
The hearing continues.PAIN.

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