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