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Ex-Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman banned as solicitor after losing three-day disciplinary hearing

PUBLISHED: 13:56 20 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:59 22 December 2017

An angry Lutfur Rahman addressing a rally in Mile End of his supporters a week after being barred from office by the High Court in 2015. Picture: Mike Brooke

An angry Lutfur Rahman addressing a rally in Mile End of his supporters a week after being barred from office by the High Court in 2015. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Disgraced former Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman has been struck off the roll of solicitors and handed an £86,400 legal costs order.

Chequered history of Lutfur Rahman’s career in Law and politics

1993: Qualifies as solicitor

1989: Joins Labour Party

2001: Selected candidate

2002: Elected Tower Hamlets councillor for Spitalfields

2007: Loses selection as a parliamentary candidate for Bethnal & Bow

2008: Becomes council leader

2009: Defeats Helal Abbas in leadership challenge

2010: May: Re-elected to council, steps down as Leader to campaign for an elected mayor, against Labour party policy; September: Deselected as Labour candidate for mayor after NEC gets document of party selection fraud and ‘ghost’ voters; October: Wins election for mayor as an independent.

2014: May: Wins second term, but charges of malpractice, ballot forgery and intimidation emerge. September: Fails in bid to stop High Court election petition going ahead.

2015: February: six-week Election trial opens. April: Damning verdict and ban from office for five years.

2016: Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal rules there is a case to answer for failing to uphold rule of law and administration of justice, failing to act with integrity and failing to maintain public trust.

2017: Lutfur Rahman struck off Solicitors’ Register

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal today found all allegations by the Solicitors Regulation Authority proven, bringing an end to a case which dates back nearly three years, the Law Society Gazette reports.

Rahman, a family law specialist, was banned from office in March 2015, after an election court found him guilty of illegal and corrupt practices.

The Regulation Authority subsequently charged him with failing to uphold the rule of law and administration of justice, failing to act with integrity and failing to behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in him and in the provision of legal services.

The Disciplinary Tribunal confirmed in February, 2016, that there was a case for Rahman to answer. But the hearing was delayed until this week because of a legal challenge when he began judicial proceedings to overturn his ban.

Rahman, a solicitor of 20 years, was found liable on all charges at today’s hearing. He failed to get the case adjourned at the start of the hearing on Monday on the grounds that he could not find a representative and did not feel able to represent himself.

An application to amend a judicial review into the election court’s findings was still pending, he argued. He did not attend the proceedings.

The controversy over Tower Hamlets election fraud has raged for years, as far back as the 2006 local council elections.

Opposition councillors like Peter Golds regularly contacted the Electoral Commission over allegations of malpractice.

He told the East London Advertiser after today’s findings at the Solicitors’ Tribunal: “The various judgements against the former mayor by eminent judicial figures make sobering reading for the vast majority of residents who want effective and legal local government.

“It’s almost 12 years since the first accounts of sustained electoral malpractice in Tower Hamlets were published.”

He gave evidence to a London Assembly committee last March in which he and the current Tower Hamlets mayor heavily criticised the Met Police for having taken no action since the High Court ruling overturned the 2014 discredited election that had returned Rahman for a second term.

Rahman was a partner at McCormack’s law firm in the Mile End Road for eight years before becoming Tower Hamlets’ first directly-elected mayor in 2010.

But it was the 2014 election that eventually brought him down.

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