Big Four firm attacks JDS’s impartiality

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ lawyers claimed that the appointment of Adrian
Brunner QC as chairman for its Joint Disciplinary Scheme tribunal contravened
the Human Rights Act, and he was not impartial having previously heard the JDS’
Barings case against the firm.

The claims were made by the firm, its predecessor Coopers & Lybrand and
its audit partner Jon Lander prior to the original tribunal hearing that was set
for June 2005.

The attack was rejected by Brunner in a 41-page document detailing the

Herbert Smith, the law firm acting for PwC, initially recommended to the JDS
executive committee that Brunner be removed from the post, a request that was
turned down. Timothy Dutton QC, acting for PwC, then claimed the JDS was
non-compliant with the Human Rights Act 6 (1).

The move represented the latest attempt by one of the major firms to
challenge the watchdog, which has a formidable record in successful actions
against members of the profession. Last year, Deloitte tried to injunct a press
release detailing complaints against chairman Martin Scicluna. The complaints
against him were eventually dismissed.

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