The serious consequences of CV fraud

Morton Fraser Associate Andrew Gibson
Andrew Gibson
Senior Associate
23 December 2022

Following quickly on the heels of our recent podcast on the case of R v Andrewes [2022] UKSC 24 another ruling, this time of the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal, illustrates the folly of falsifying a CV in an effort to secure employment.

On his application form for pupillage, submitted to chambers in 2011, Richard Gibbs had stated that he had been commissioned by the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, had given evidence in his role as a serving officer at inquests and had served in the regular Army. In 2013 when applying for tenancy he had submitted a CV which included a statement that he had been a British Army Officer and had sold his company in April 2010. All of this information was untrue. He then compounded these falsehoods by failing to cooperate fully with the Bar Standards Board when they sought to investigate in 2019.

The Bar Disciplinary Tribunal held that Mr Gibbs' conduct, in knowingly making statements which were not true on his application form and CV, amounted to him engaging in conduct which was dishonest and/or likely to diminish public confidence in the legal profession or the administration of justice or otherwise bring the legal profession into disrepute.

From a professional disciplinary law standpoint this case simply enforces the well-established principle that in cases involving dishonesty the appropriate sanction is one of strike off unless there are exceptional circumstances. All registered professionals should take note of the inadvisability of making false statements during an application process in the hope of obtaining the job.

For employers, it highlights the importance of careful vetting of candidates at the application stage. This could include such steps as requesting to see qualification certificates, validating references and asking probing questions at interview. Whilst Mr Gibbs was not technically an employee of his chambers, the potential reputational damage to them of having one of their members disbarred is obvious.

We should note that Mr Gibbs has intimated an intention to appeal and for now continues to practice pending the conclusion of his appeal.


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