A high-flying barrister has been struck off for forging a judge’s signature, while defending former MI6 agent Christopher Steele against a libel action filed by Russian tech tycoon Aleksej Gubarev.
Veteran barrister Nicola Cain was disbarred for giving her client, Christopher Steele, a fake High Court order, on which she had cut-and-pasted a copy of a senior judge’s signature.
The forgeries were made whilst Cain was acting as Steele’s defence, after Aleksej Gubarev sued the former intelligence officer for defamation.
Cain had been advocating on Steele’s behalf while working for London law firm RPC, one of the top defamation specialists in the world.
Nicola Cain joined RPC having previously spent eight years as an in-house barrister at the BBC.
Gubarev launched a libel action against Steele over claims made in the 35-page “Steele dossier,” that allege Gubarev had been involved in hacking the Democratic Party. Gubarev denies the allegations.
The libel action against Christopher Steele came after Buzzfeed News published the Steele dossier in 2017, without Steele’s permission.
The controversial document makes claims that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was aided by the Russian government.
A High Court Judge later dismissed Gubarev’s claim against Christopher Steele, after ruling that Steele had not been responsible for the controversial document’s publication.
Last year, Gubarev also dropped his case against Buzzfeed, after a US court said Buzzfeed had a right to publish the document, as it is part of a government investigation.
‘Serious errors of judgement’
A tribunal found that Nicola Cain falsely stated that Christopher Steele had authorized her to file a witness statement on his behalf, despite not having gained his permission.
The tribunal found that Cain repeatedly misled her client and failed to give him documents.
In her defence, James Counsell QC said Cain had been overwhelmed with work to the point that her mental health had begun to deteriorate, according to Court News UK.
In a statement to the tribunal, Cain said she had made a “series of very serious errors of judgement” in a “short space of time” as she admitted to behaving in a way that would likely to “diminish trust and confidence” in the legal profession.
Sara Jagger, director of legal enforcement at the Bar Standards Board (BSB) said: “The charges which the tribunal has found proved involved dishonestly and deliberately misleading a client,”
“The tribunal’s decision to disbar Ms Cain reflects the seriousness of her conduct and that such acts are not compatible with membership of the Bar.”