By David Young-
Former Law Society president David Greene(pictured) has been accused of being misleading on oath about communications with a former client, it was claimed before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal today.
Senior partner at London firm Edwin Coe, David Davies, brought the claim against Mr.Green.
He claims the high-profile solicitor gave misleading evidence to a county court judge in 2012 in a dispute about unpaid fees.
Greene had failed in his previous attempt to halt a private prosecution of him at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT), although its scope has been narrowed.
Davies’ case against Greene was struck out by the SDT in 2019 but that decision was overturned last year by the High Court. The High Court found that Greene arguably gave evidence which was ‘not only misleading but deliberately so’.
Greene’s barrister Ben Hubble QC told the court: ‘The 2016 judgment … addressed and determined the very question that is at the heart of the disciplinary proceedings and, that being so, the disciplinary proceedings are an abusive collateral attack on the 2016 judgment,’ Greene’s barrister Ben Hubble QC told the court. He added that the case against Greene, which he described as ‘an unjust harassment’, has ‘no prospect of success because the 2016 judgment is the answer’.
‘It plainly brings the administration of justice into disrepute when a prosecutor initiates disciplinary proceedings to consider whether a judge has been misled when that very issue was raised by the same individual in civil proceedings before the judge in question, who determined in the clearest of possible terms that he had not been,’ Hubble said in written submissions.
In January 2021, the High Court ruled that the SDT’s decision was flawed both in its analysis of abuse of process and by not properly examining the merits of the case.
Though the court found that Mr Greene has a case to answer, it stressed that it was not judging whether he misled the judge
District Judge Stewart ruled in Edwin Coe’s favour and, in 2016, the same judge rejected Davies’ application to set aside the earlier judgment based on the allegation that Greene misled the court.
The dispute goes back to 2008, when Davies’ company Eco-Power instructed Edwin Coe in a judicial review against Transport for London. The judicial review was dismissed and Eco-Power’s claim for damages was stayed, but Davies told the firm in 2009 that he wanted to pursue the damages claim, for which Edwin Coe opened a new file.
Elaine Banton, for Davies, told the tribunal today: ‘It’s a simple matter you have to have regard to – what was said by David Greene in evidence at the county court at the time. You then have to contrast that carefully with contemporaneous evidence at the time in terms of communications between himself and the applicant… The crux of the complaint is, David Greene misled the court in two related aspects of his evidence to support Edwin Coe’s case that a new and separate retainer for Mr Davies for what was a claim for Eco-Power.’
Greene said he had not heard from Davies for about a year before the new retainer was agreed, adding that the file in relation to the Eco-Power judicial review had been closed.
However, the damages claim was part of the Eco-Power judicial review and there had been regular correspondence between Greene and Davies, Banton told the tribunal. ‘If that’s correct, then that is a lie that was told to the court. It is untrue, dishonest and/or reckless,’ she said.