Much of Paul Stafford’s practice has focused on long and complex disputes, often with a multi-jurisdictional element, of a chancery and commercial nature. These include property and trusts of land, ecclesiastical law, professional negligence, and building and civil engineering (particularly those involving local government). His early career as a Junior Research Fellow and Lecturer in History at Oxford University has helped him develop an expertise in manorial rights in the context of modern land registration. His pupillage at the Bar’s leading construction sets gave him experience of the TCC where he has often appeared. Professional regulation, particularly the dishonesty of solicitors, is another specialist area.
Regulatory proceedings, including complaints to ombudsmen, are now widely used against professionals as an alternative to negligence claims. Paul has extensive experience of defending professionals against all three routes of attack – primarily solicitors in the context of property or commercial chancery work, but also accountants, surveyors and financial advisers. The advisory aspect of this work has involved keeping professional partnerships or individuals on the right side of the regulator. The contentious aspect has involved representing them before the ombudsman, in disciplinary proceedings and in court.
For ten years Paul sat regularly as a member and occasional chairman of the Disciplinary Committee, the Admissions and Licensing Committee and the Appeals Committee of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). In the Administrative Court he was the first, or one of the first, barristers to obtain a successful judicial review against a decision of the Financial Services Ombudsman: Garrison Investment Analysis Ltd v Financial Ombudsman Service Ltd  All ER (D) 110;  EWHC (Admin) 2466, Sullivan J. He has been recognised in the Legal 500 (2014 edition) for his significant caseload in relation to disciplinary hearings involving solicitors.
- Webb v SRA  All ER (D) 50;  EWHC 2078 (Admin), Jeremy Baker J – Appeal for solicitor found dishonest by the SDT when registering transfer in breach of undertaking.
- Garrison Investment Analysis Ltd v Financial Ombudsman Service Ltd  All ER (D) 110;  EWHC (Admin) 2466, Sullivan J – Financial Services Ombudsman wrong to require redress to be made by independent financial adviser.
- White v Office for Supervision of Solicitors  EWHC (Admin) 1149, Lightman J – Solicitor challenging OSS finding of inadequate professional service.
- MA (First Class Hons in Modern History): Christ Church, Oxford
- D. Phil (on the Mediterranean origins of the Second World War): St Antony’s College, Oxford
- Diploma in Law: City University, London
- Holker Scholar, Gray’s Inn
- Karmel Prize in Chancery law, Gray’s Inn
- Former Legal Member (and occasional Chairman) of the Disciplinary Committee, the Admissions and Licensing Committee and the Appeals Committee of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
- Former elected Member of the Bar Council
- Member of the Bar Council Remuneration Committee
- Legal Member of the Disciplinary Committee of the Conservative Party
Associations & Memberships
- Chancery Bar Association
Paul Stafford is a self-employed, independent barrister whose practice is governed by the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales. He is registered with The Bar Standards Board [Bar Ref 22796] and is fully insured with the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund [BMIF Ref 2360/020] to provide legal services, please refer to the BMIF website for full details of the world-wide cover provided. He is registered for VAT under the reference 524130883.