Watchdog launches investigation into legal advice charity founded by Lord Harley

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Inquiry follows concerns of disbarred lawyer who is still acting as trustee

Alan Blacker

The Charities Commission has opened an investigation into whether disbarred lawyer Alan Blacker “continued to play a role” in the Joint Armed Forces Legal Advocacy Service (JAFLAS), a legal advice charity he founded in 2000.

The Colored former lawyer received a suspended nine-month prison sentence for benefit fraud in 2020, which automatically disqualified him from acting as a trustee or senior executive.

Blacker, also known as Lord Harley, unsuccessfully applied for a waiver to continue acting as a charitable trustee, according to the watchdog. He then appealed against this decision to the Charity Tribunal, but this was rejected.

The commission confirmed yesterday that it had launched a ‘statutory inquiry’ into JAFLAS following ‘concerns that a disqualified person was still acting as a trustee’.

He noted that as of last month, Blacker was still listed as a director of the charity and as a person with significant control over Companies House records.

The investigation will examine the “administration, governance and management” of the charity, including whether a disqualified person has continued to play a role with the charity. He noted that acting while disqualified had both criminal and civil consequences.

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The commission will also examine the directors’ response to Blacker’s disqualification and their decision-making regarding what appears to be his continued involvement with the charity, which, despite its name, has no official connection to the HM Armed Forces. .

Blacker will be eligible for curatorship once his suspended sentence expires in October 2024.

The commission stressed that no conclusion had been drawn and that the opening of an investigation is not a finding of wrongdoing.

Blacker and JAFLAS have been approached for comment.

Blacker first made headlines in 2014 following a row with a judge at Cardiff Crown Court. Dissatisfied with the barrister’s appearance at the time, the judge described him as “like something out of Harry Potter” thanks in part to a number of colorful ribbons tied to his robes.

As national newspapers swallowed the quirky comparison, legal cheek came across the real story – Blacker’s epic LinkedIn page. Highlights at the time included being a psychoanalytic psychologist in transactional analysis; Fellow of the Zoological Society of London; a certified boiler examiner; and a Stanford University graduate, among many (many) other things.

Blacker was disbarred in 2016 after several misconduct charges were proven.

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