Retired Central Criminal Court judge, Barry White, says a demand for further disclosure of his financial affairs, in advance of his High Court challenge to a rule preventing him from returning to practice as a barrister, is “an unsavoury fishing exercise”.
The 71-year-old’s action is over a Bar Council rule that prevents him practising in a court equal to, or lower than, the one he presided over; in this instance all courts below the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
Mr White claims he needs to return to work as a barrister due to financial necessity, and because his pension entitlements were insufficient to meet the needs of his family. The case is due to be heard in July.
Before that, the Bar Council is seeking discovery of two categories of documents, including those relating to all work undertaken five years before Mr White’s appointment to the bench.
He claims he has supplied sufficient information and while he is prepared to make a certain amount of further discovery, he says the type of documents sought are not necessary to determine the case.
Mr Justice Max Barrett said he would give his decision next week.
Paul Sreenan SC, for the Bar Council, said there was very little in the information received, so far, to support Mr White’s claim for damages, and further discovery was needed to meet that claim. Counsel said that certain questions must be addressed, in advance of the case, as to what his assets and liabilities are.
Mr White says his wife is bearing the brunt of family expenditure, which includes the costs of four children in full-time education, but the Bar Council knows nothing about the family’s income or expenditure, counsel said.
The Bar Council was effectively being asked to defend the case with one hand tied behind its back, he said.
Mr White was called to the Bar in 1967 and became a senior counsel in 1992.
When appointed a High Court judge, in 2002, he had an extensive practise at the criminal Bar.
He had to retire as a judge at age 70.
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