The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on 13 March
1986, the following members being present:

              MM. C. A. NØRGAARD, President
                  G. SPERDUTI
                  E. BUSUTTIL
                  G. JÖRUNDSSON
                  G. TENEKIDES
                  B. KIERNAN
                  A. S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                  A. WEITZEL
                  J. C. SOYER
                  H. G. SCHERMERS
                  H. VANDENBERGHE
             Mrs. G. H. THUNE
              Sir Basil HALL

Mr. H. C. KRÜGER Secretary to the Commission

Having regard to Art. 25 of the Convention for the Protection of Human
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Art. 25);

Having regard to the application introduced on 8 November 1984 by R.G.P.
against the United Kingdom and registered on 20 March 1985, under file N°
11456/85;

Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 40 of the Rules of
Procedure of the Commission;

Having deliberated;

Decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicant is a citizen of the United Kingdom and a barrister.  He
was born in 1944 and lives in Norwich, England.

This is his fifth application to the Commission.  Applications Nos.
9096/80, 9522/81, 10331/83 and 10904/84 were declared inadmissible by
the Commission on 5 May 1981, 4 October 1982, 16 December 1983 and 18
May 1984 respectively.  His first application complained of a criminal
conviction in 1978 for having travelled on a railway without having
previously paid the fare and with intent to avoid payment thereof and
of contravening a railway by-law.  His second, third and fourth
applications criticised the regulations governing the legal
profession, in particular that of barristers, in England and Wales,
the second application referring to disciplinary proceedings brought
by the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Senate of the Bar against the
applicant for professional misconduct as a result of the conviction by
a Magistrate's Court in 1978.  The facts of this application, as they
have been submitted by the applicant and are apparent from the file,
can be summarised as follows:

As a result of the conviction on 31 August 1978, the applicant was
subjected to a penalty of £200.  On 21 February 1980 an arrest warrant
was issued for the balance of the sum due.  The applicant claimed that
the balance on the face of the warrant was wrong and, after some
discussion, the sum which the applicant claimed was due was paid and
the Magistrate's Court proceedings ended.  The applicant, however,
regarded the discrepancy between the amount he had been asked to pay
and the amount he eventually paid (a difference of £10) as a serious
matter and he thought that the matter should be taken up by the
Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies.

The applicant wrote to the Suffolk Constabulary enclosing a copy of a
letter he had received from the Clerk to the Justices.  In his letter,
the applicant referred to the fact that the warrant for his arrest had
been destroyed and asked the police to investigate inter alia whether
that was not an offence against the Theft Act 1968.  In the course of
the police investigations  which followed, the applicant made a
statement to the police in which he made allegations of malice and
misconduct against the Clerk to the Justices, stating that he
considered that the Clerk to the Justices had intentionally made out
the warrant for an an excessive amount in the first place, and had
then destroyed the warrant.  It was decided not to proceed with
criminal proceedings against the Clerk, and at the end of the police
investigation, the Clerk complained to the Professional Conduct
Committee of the Bar.  That Committee brought charges against the
applicant of conduct unbecoming a barrister, namely making a malicious
and unwaranted attack upon the integrity of the Clerk to the Justices.

The applicant submits that, at the Disciplinary Tribunal, he protested
against the disclosure of the report he made to the police, but that
the report was disclosed to the Tribunal nevertheless.  From the
transcript of the Disciplinary Tribunal, however, it appears that the
document in respect of which he made an objection to disclosure was
the report made by the Clerk to the Justices to the Professional
Conduct Committee, and not the applicant's report to the police.  The
contents of the applicant's letter to the police of 24 November 1980
and his subsequent written statement of 8 December 1980, were read out
before the Tribunal without objection.  The applicant's counsel at the
time did submit that the tribunal should not see either the Clerk's
report to the Professional Conduct Committee or the applicant's
comments when he was given the chance to reply.  That submission was
accepted.  The applicant further submits that the report was, under
domestic law, a privileged document which should not, therefore, have
been disclosed.

At the proceedings of the Disciplinary Tribunal, the Chairman found
the charge of conduct unbecoming a barrister substantiated, and
sentenced the applicant to a suspension of three months.  The
suspension of three months was regarded by the Tribunal as
particularly lenient because the applicant, who at the time had only
completed six months of the twelve months pupillage required before a
barrister may practise alone, was in any event not entitled to
practise and the sentence would have no continuing adverse effect once
the three months suspension had expired.

The ultimate responsibility for the regulation of the Bar is vested in
the judiciary, barristers being officers of the court.

"... By the common law of England, the judges have the right
to determine who shall be admitted to practise as barristers
and solicitors; and, as incidental thereto, the judges have
the right to suspend or prohibit from practice.  In England,
this power has for a very long time been delegated, so far
as barristers are concerned, to the Inns of court ..."
(Halsbury's laws of England, Vol. 3: Barristers, para. 1103,
FN 6).

Reported cases show that the exercise of these delegated powers and
duties has been at all times and remains subject to the "visitorial
jurisdiction of the judges" and further that resolutions of the judges
and of the Inns of Court providing that the Senate of the four Inns of
Court should be responsible for the machinery by which matters of
discipline in regard to professional misconduct should be dealt with
were valid (cf. re S (1969), 1 All ER 949).  In 1974 the Senate of the
Four Inns and a further body, the General Council of the Bar, were
amalgamated to form the Senate of the Inns of Court and the Bar whose
constitution and functions are contained in the Regulations of the
Senate of the Inns of Court and the Bar (1974).  The Senate accordingly
is now responsible for the disciplinary machinery originally
administered by the judges and later by the separate Inns.

The 1974 Regulations also created the Bar Council which is responsible
for maintaining "the standards, honour and independence of the Bar ...
and ... all matters affecting the administration of justice"
(Regulation 29).  The Bar Council has drawn up a Code of Conduct for
the Bar, whose latest edition was published in January 1985.  Rules 6
and 7 of that Code provide, so far as relevant, as follows:

6. It is the duty of every barrister:

(a) to comply with the provisions of this Code and with the
    Declaration which he made on his call to the Bar;

(b) not to engage in conduct (whether in pursuit of his
    profession or otherwise) which is dishonest or which
    may otherwise bring the profession of barrister into
    disrepute, or which is prejudicial to the
    administration of justice;

(c) to observe the ethics and etiquette of his profession;
 ...

7. Serious failure to comply with the duties set out in
paragraph 6 shall be professional misconduct and, if proved
before a Disciplinary Tribunal, shall render the barrister
liable to be disbarred, to be suspended (either unconditionally
or subject to conditions), to be ordered to repay or forgo fees
 ...

The Disciplinary Tribunal, set up under Senate Regulations, hears
inter alia cases of alleged professional misconduct, preferred by the
professional conduct committee.  Its procedural rules (drawn up under
a Senate bye-law) provide inter alia (in the version applicable at the
time of the applicant's hearings before the Visitors) as follows:

(p) Publication of Finding and Sentence

(1) The following arrangements are to be followed for publication
    of the finding and sentence of a Disciplinary Tribunal:

   (i) In cases where the sentence is disbarment or suspension,
       the President of the Senate shall publish the charges
       found proved and the sentence as soon as he has been
       informed by the Treasurer of the barrister's Inn of the
       date from which the sentence is to take effect.
    ...

(2) When publishing any finding, sentence or decision in
    accordance with sub-pragraph (1) of this paragraph,
    the President of the Senate shall communicate the same
    in writing to:

    (i) The Lord Chancellor
   (ii) The Attorney-General
  (iii) The Treasurer of each Inn for screening in the Hall,
        Benchers' Room and Treasurer's office of the Inn
   (iv) The Leaders of the six Circuits
    (v) The barrister concerned
   (vi) Such one or more Press Agencies as the President
        may decide.

All published decisions of the Disciplinary Tribunal involving
suspension are available for consultation at the Senate on request of
a barrister.

An appeal lies against a decision of the Disciplinary Tribunal to a
panel of High Court judges sitting as Visitors of the Inns of Court
(Hearings before the Visitors Rules 1980).  Appeals are heard by not
fewer than three judges of the High Court (Rule 9 (1)) and may be in
public at the request of an applicant (Rule 9 (4)).  The Visitors may
pronounce their finding in public or in private (Rule 10 (2)) and
certain of the decisions are included in the Law Reports (for example,
re S (1969) 1 All ER 949, referred to above).

The applicant appealed to the Visitors of the Inns of Court, who heard
the substantive appeal on 24 September 1984.  The appeal failed and no
further appeal was possible.

The applicant had been informed of the date of the full hearing for
appeal on or about 14 August 1984.  At least two weeks before the
hearing, it became plain to the applicant that the barrister of his
choice (not the barrister who represented him before the original
hearing before the Disciplinary Tribunal in January 1984) would not be
able to represent him before the Visitors.  At the hearing, the
applicant stated that he had not attempted to engage another counsel,
and that it would not in any event have been possible at such short
notice.  He declined to represent himself.  The Visitors found that
the rule of conduct requiring a barrister to act (for a proper
professional fee) if able, and if not prevented by special
circumstances, either did not apply to the present proceedings or had
presumably been complied with if the chosen barrister was unable to
attend.  Questions of whether the applicant could afford "a proper
fee" did not arise because of a rule of etiquette requiring barristers
to act for colleagues before disciplinary tribunals without a fee.
The Visitors decided that the proceedings, which had already lasted in
one form or another for six years, had been pending for long enough
and they declined to adjourn them when the applicant stated that he
was not willing to appear without his chosen representative.  The
applicant then stated that he would approach another barrister, but
the Visitors decided that they should proceed nevertheless.  The
applicant refused to obey the directions of the chairman of the
Visitors as to his conduct in the courtroom and he left.  The Visitors
decided to continue in his absence.

In a draft petition of appeal the applicant referred to the general
public importance of being able to make reports to the police, stating
that barristers should not be less aware of their public duty than
other members of the public.  The question of whether the letter and
statement to the police were privileged was not, in terms, raised.  At
the hearing, although the draft petition of appeal was not considered
to be a proper document with formal grounds for appeal (indeed, there
had already been a preliminary hearing of whether the applicant's
petition to the Visitors was in proper form), the Visitors
nevertheless took it into account in their deliberations.  The
question of privilege was not raised orally at the  hearing.

Since the applicant originally submitted his application he has been
taken into pupillage from 7 August 1985 and it appears that he has
been entitled to practise as a barrister on his own account from 7
February 1986.

COMPLAINTS

As to the original criminal conviction

The applicant complains of unlawful arrest under the warrant of 21
February 1980 in alleged violation of Art. 5, para. 1 of the
Convention (Art. 5-1).  He also invokes Art. 5, para. 5 (Art. 5-5) in
this respect.  He claims that legal aid could not have been obtained
for an application to secure such compensation and that his rights
under Art. 6, para. 1 of the Convention (Art. 6-1) were thereby
violated.  Finally in this connection, the applicant alleges a
violation of Arts. 13 (Art. 13) and 14 (Art. 14) in that no criminal
proceedings were instituted in respect of what the applicant regards
as the clearly illegal activity of the Clerk to the Justices, and in
that legal aid is not available for private prosecutions.

As to the disciplinary proceedings

The applicant claims that his right to freedom of expression under
Art. 10 of the Convention (Art. 10) has been violated by the
disciplinary sanction.  He also claims that the hearing before the
visitors was not in accordance with Art. 6, para. 1 of the Convention
(Art. 6-1) because the applicant was not accorded legal
representation.  He alleges a violation of Art. 7 of the Convention
(Art. 7) in that his sentence of three months' suspension for a
"malicious and unwarranted attack on the reputation" of the Clerk to
the Justices represented a sentence for a criminal offence which had
not existed at the time the offence took place.  In respect of Art. 8
(Art. 8), the applicant alleges a violation in that he has been
subjected to disciplinary measures for the exercise of his rights to
correspond.  Finally, in respect of the disciplinary proceedings, he
complains that because there is no appeal to the House of Lords from a
decision of the Visitors, he is denied an effective remedy in alleged
violation of Art. 13 of the Convention (Art. 13).

THE LAW

As to the original conviction

1.  The applicant makes various allegations under Arts. 5 (Art. 5)
and 6 (Art. 6) of the Convention concerning the original criminal
conviction in 1978 and the arrest arising therefrom in 1980.

The conviction formed the basis of the applicant's first application
to the Commission, No. 9096/80.  The Commission is not, however,
prevented from hearing these complaints under Art. 27, para. 1,
sub-para. b of the Convention (Art. 27-1-b) because these parts of the
present application are principally concerned with events following
the conviction, namely the arrest warrant of 1980.  This constitutes
relevant new information for Art. 27, para. 1, sub-para. b
(Art. 27-1-b).

However, the Commission is not required to decide whether or not the
facts alleged by the applicant in this respect disclose any appearance
of a violation of the Convention as Art. 26 of the Convention
(Art. 26) provides that the Commission "can only deal with a matter
 ... within a period of six months from the date on which the final
decision was taken."

In the present case the warrant for the applicant's arrest which was
the final decision regarding the subject of these particular
complaints was issued on 21 February 1980, whereas this application
was submitted to the Commission on 8 November 1984, that is more than
six months after the date of this decision.  Furthermore, an
examination of the case does not disclose the existence of any special
circumstances which might have interrupted or suspended the running of
that period.

It follows that this part of the application has been introduced out
of time and must be rejected under Art. 27, para. 3 of the Convention
(Art. 27-3).

2.  The applicant has also complained that he has been unable to
ensure the prosecution of what he regards as the clearly illegal
activities of the Clerk to the Justices in respect of the warrant for
his arrest.  He invokes Art. 13 of the Convention (Art. 13).  He also
alleges a violation of Art. 14 (Art. 14) in that legal aid is not
available for a private prosecution.

In this respect, the Commission recalls that it is only competent to
receive complaints from individual applicants under Art. 25 of the
Convention (Art. 25) which allege violations of the rights and
freedoms defined in Section 1 of the Convention, and that it has
consistently decided that no right to institute criminal proceedings
is as such guaranteed by the Convention.  It consequently has no
competence ratione materiae to examine either such a complaint or the
alleged discrimination attached to it.

It follows that this part of the application must be rejected under
Art. 27, para. 2 of the Convention (Art. 27-2).

As to the disciplinary proceedings

3.  The Commission notes that the judiciary is ultimately
responsible for the regulation of the Bar and that judges exercise a
visitorial jurisdiction over the exercise of powers delegated to the
Inns of Court.

In these circumstances, the Commission concludes that the applicant's
claims may involve the responsibility of the United Kingdom Government
under the Convention in that it is responsible for the acts (either
direct or delegated) of its judiciary.

The applicant's complaints in respect of the disciplinary proceedings
are not, therefore, against a mere private organisation but against a
High Contracting Party and accordingly are not incompatible ratione
personae with the Convention within the meaning of Art. 27, para. 2
(Art. 27-2).

4.  The applicant complains that the imposition of a disciplinary
sentence upon him by the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Senate in
respect of a letter to the Suffolk Constabulary and a written
statement to the police at Holborn constitutes an interference with
his right to freedom of expression under Art. 10 of the Convention
(Art. 10), and that such interference is not justified under Art. 10,
para. 2 (Art. 10-2).  Article 10 (Art. 10), so far as relevant,
provides as follows:

1.  Everyone has the right to freedom of expression.  ...

2.  The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it
duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such
formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are
prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society,
 ... for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the
protection of health or morals, for the protection of the
reputation or rights of others, ... or for maintaining the
authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

In the present case, the applicant was subjected to a disciplinary
sanction of three months' suspension from practice as a barrister for
having made an "unwarranted" attack on the character of the Clerk to
the Justices in a letter and in a subsequent statement to the police.
The Commission considers that such a sanction must be regarded as
constituting an interference with the applicant's right to freedom of
expression under Art. 10, para. 1 (Art. 10-1).

The Commission must next consider whether any of the exceptions
provided for in Art. 10, para. 2 of the Convention (Art. 10-2) applies
to the imposition of a disciplinary sanction on the applicant.

The Commission notes that the sanction of a period of suspension
imposed on the applicant was clearly prescribed by the law in the
sense that the common law recognises first, that the authority of the
judges to suspend barristers or prohibit them from practice has been
legally exercised by the Inns of Court rather than the judges and,
secondly, that the Senate of the Inns of Court and the Bar now
effectively exercises that disciplinary authority (re S, loc. cit.,
and Regulations of the Senate of the Inns of Court and the Bar
(1974)).

The Commission must also consider whether the restriction imposed on
the applicant, namely the very existence of Rules likely to impede him
in the exercise of his right freely to express himself as guaranteed
by Art. 10 of the Convention (Art. 10), can also be regarded as
"prescribed by law".  The Rules applied in the applicant's case are
contained in the Code of Conduct of the Bar and are those which are
applied by the Disciplinary Tribunal and the judges in the exercise of
their disciplinary functions.  Moreover, the decisions of the
Disciplinary Tribunal involving suspension from practice are
invariably published in accordance with Senate bye-laws and all such
decisions are available to a barrister from the Senate of the Inns of
Court and the Bar on request.  The more important decisions of the
Visitors are published in the Law Reports.

The Commission therefore considers that both the sanction imposed and
the Rules which the applicant was found guilty of having breached,
which constitute the restriction in the present case, may be regarded
as "prescribed by law" within the meaning of Art. 10, para. 2
(Art. 10-2).

The Commission recalls its previous case-law (cf. Dec. No. 9417/81,
5.10.82, unpublished) that where a sanction aims at the combined
purposes of protecting the reputation of the legal profession and of
maintaining the authority of the judiciary, that sanction is to be
regarded as being a legitimate aim for the purposes of Art. 10,
para. 2 (Art. 10-2).  The sanction in the present case was undoubtedly
aimed at maintaining the good reputation of the Bar and, ultimately,
of the judiciary (as senior judges in England and Wales are invariably
chosen from barristers of some standing).

It follows that the sanction falls to be regarded as pursuing a
legitimate aim for the purposes of Art. 10, para. 2 (Art. 10-2).

Next, the Commission must consider whether the sanction can be
regarded as necessary in a democratic society.  In determining this,
regard must be had to the criteria propounded by the Court and
Commission in previous case-law.  Thus, although "necessary" does not
mean "indispensable", it is not as flexible an expression as "useful"
or "desirable";  rather, it implies a "pressing social need" (cf.
Barthold case, Eur. Court H.R. judgment of 25 March 1985, para. 55).
In assessing the margin of appreciation enjoyed by the Contracting
States, the question must be considered whether the interference is
proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued, and whether the reasons
for it are relevant and sufficient.

The Commission notes that the hearing before the Disciplinary Tribunal
was the applicant's second appearance before that body in connection
with the original railway offence, and that the tribunal, in coming to
its decision to suspend the applicant for a period of three months,
expressly indicated that the sanction would have no continuing adverse
effect on the applicant after the expiry of the three months, and that
its effect during the period of suspension would also be minimal as
the applicant was not, in any event, entitled to practise, not having
completed the second half of his period of pupillage.  The Board of
Visitors regarded the sanction as "a technicality".  The Commission
also notes that the person alleged to have been attacked was a court
official, which brings the matter more closely within the province of
the Bar's professional activities than if the "victim" had been a
complete outsider to the legal process.

In the circumstances of this particular case, the Commission sees no
reason to conclude that the sanction complained of was not
proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued, and accordingly, it is to
be regarded as "necessary in a democratic society" "for the protection
of the rights of others".

This part of the application must therefore be rejected as being
manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Art. 27, para. 2 of the
Convention (Art. 27-2).

5.  The applicant claims that the hearing before the Visitors was
not in accordance with Art. 6, para. 1 of the Convention (Art. 6-1)
because he was not accorded legal representation.

Article 6, para. 1 of the Convention (Art. 6-1) provides, so far as
relevant, as follows:

1.  In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of
any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and
public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and
impartial tribunal established by law.  ...

The applicant's only allegation is of the lack of legal
representation, and he cites the decision of the European Court of
Human Rights in the Airey case (Judgment of 9 October 1979, paras. 20
et seq.).  The Commission is, however, not called on in the present
case to decide whether the applicant's civil rights and obligations
were determined, as it finds that legal representation would have been
available to the applicant if he had chosen to avail himself of the
opportunity.

The Commission notes that the applicant was represented before the
original Disciplinary Tribunal in January 1984, and the question of
representation is therefore limited to the appeal hearing before the
Visitors.  The applicant was informed that his chosen representative
would not be able to attend the Visitors' hearing at least two weeks
before the hearing began, and it is clear from the transcript of the
hearing that the applicant made no attempt to look for further
representation.  The Commission considers that the responsibility for
choosing representation in a case such as the present one, where the
applicant is, himself, a barrister and is not detained, must lie in
the first instance with the applicant, rather than with the Bar
authorities.  Further, barristers brought before a Disciplinary
Tribunal and on appeal therefrom are in a particularly privileged
position because of a rule of etiquette which requires barristers
assisting their colleagues at such hearings to give their services
free of charge.

It follows that the applicant has not exhausted the available domestic
remedies and this part of the application must be rejected under Art.
27, para. 3 of the Convention (Art. 27-3).

6.  The applicant claims that his sentence of three months'
suspension for a "malicious and unwarranted attack on the reputation"
of the Clerk to the Justices constitutes a violation of Art. 7 of the
Convention (Art. 7), because when the attack took place, no such criminal
offence existed.

The Commission recalls its previous case-law that a purely
disciplinary sanction for a breach of professional rules does not
constitute a criminal offence for the purposes of Art. 7 of the
Convention (Art. 7) (Dec. No. 4519/70, 5.2.71, Collection 37
p. 134, 136).

It follows that an examination of this part of the application is
outside the competence of the Commission ratione materiae and must
therefore  be declared inadmissible in accordance with the provisions
of Art. 27, para. 2 of the Convention (Art. 27-2).

7.  The applicant complains that his right to respect for
correspondence under Art. 8 of the Convention (Art. 8) has been
violated in that the contents of his reports to the police were
transmitted to another public authority, namely the Disciplinary
Tribunal of the Bar.

Insofar as the applicant complains of the disclosure of his
communications with the police to the disciplinary tribunal, the
Commission notes that although the applicant made a general reference
to this matter in his draft petition to the Visitors, he did not
develop the point further in the proceedings before them.  The
Commission is therefore not required to decide whether or not this
part of the application discloses any appearance of a violation of
Art. 8 of the Convention (Art. 8) as, under Art. 26 of the Convention
(Art. 26), it may only deal with a matter after all domestic remedies
have been exhausted according to the generally recognised rules of
international law.  The mere fact that the applicant has submitted his
case to an appeal body and made oblique reference to a particular
point in his written submissions does not of itself constitute
compliance with the rule.  It is also required that the substance of
any complaint made before the Commission should have been properly
raised during the appeal proceedings concerned.  Moreover,an
examination of the case does not disclose the existence of any special
circumstances which might have absolved the applicant, according to
the generally recognised rules of international law, from raising his
complaint in the proceedings before the Visitors.

It follows that the applicant has not complied with the condition as
to the exhaustion of domestic remedies and his application must in
this respect be rejected under Art. 27, para. 3 of the Convention
(Art. 27-3).

8.   The applicant alleges a violation of Art. 13 of the Convention
(Art. 13) in that, unlike members of other professions, he was not
able to take an appeal from the final "internal" appeal body to the
Privy Council or the House of Lords.  He does not invoke the Article
in connection with any other Article.

The Commission notes that in his appeal to the Visitors, the applicant
was at liberty to raise any complaints concerning the hearing before
the Disciplinary Tribunal and whether it proceeded in accordance with
the norms laid down by the Senate regulations.

It follows that the remedy against the application of the relevant
norms by the Disciplinary Tribunal was available to the applicant.

It follows that this part of the application is also manifestly
ill-founded within the meaning of Art. 27, para. 2 of the Convention
(Art. 27-2).

For these reasons, the Commission

DECLARES THE APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE

Secretary to the Commission         President of the Commission

    (H. C. KRÜGER)                      (C. A. NØRGAARD)