Lighter Side: Lawyer conducts “extremely bizarre” fake litigation over three-year period

by NZ Lawyer28 Nov 2014
A lawyer from London is under police investigation after it was discovered he’s spent the past three years conducting fake litigation, in a case described as “breath-taking” by a judge.

Legal Cheek reported that between 2010-2013, Andrew Benson orchestrated a sham involving fictitious hearings before the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal, fake judgments and sealed court orders, fake correspondence with a law firm and the fictitious instruction of various barristers.

The lawyer was a partner in the fraud team at boutique firm Byrne & Partners at the time.

The bizarre fake litigation even extended to telephone conferences being held where Benson’s senior partner and a Doughty Street silk were impersonated.

In the opening sentence of the judgement against Benson, Justice Hamble marvelled: “The facts giving rise to the present application are so extraordinary that they could have come from one of A.P.Herbert’s Misleading Cases (an anthology of satirical law reports published in 1935).”

Benson’s work of fiction was finally exposed in December last year when questions were raised about a transcript of one of the supposed hearings before a judge, and consequently the judge’s real clerk was contacted directly.

“The deception practised by Mr Benson over a period of more than three years … is rightly described as breath-taking. Until the police and the SRA have concluded their investigations much remains unclear, including his motives,” said Justice Hamble.