THE BOSS of the law firm fighting to return IS bride Shamima Begum to Britain was found to have overcharged thousands in legal aid, The Sun can reveal.
Dr Farooq Bajwa and his Mayfair firm have spearheaded attempts to bring the teen jihadi home since 2015.
But it was claimed that her case had passed to renowned human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce who gained legal aid on behalf of Begum after applying on March 19.
Dr Bajwa was fined for claiming over double the agreed amount in legal aid for a case last year.
He said he had “very little experience of criminal defence work” after he applied for £7,300 for the National Taxing Team despite agreeing to £3,000 cost limits.
He claimed he had “genuinely misunderstood” the rules and was fined £2,000 and forced to pay £9,500 costs to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) last May.
It means attempts by Begum, 19, to claim legal aid with Farooq Bajwa & Co would go through extra checks as the SRA slapped extra regulations on its practice.
Following the case it stipulated Dr Bajwa and his firm “may not undertake work involving public funds without obtaining SRA approval”.
‘ACT OF MERCY’
It was ordered to “complete appropriate and relevant training” on legal aid and show “evidence” of this before gaining any further legal aid.
Farooq Bajwa & Co defence solicitor Tasnime Akunjee has led the fight to return Begum to the UK on behalf of her family since 2015.
He wrote to the Home Office last month urging them to reconsider revoking their client’s citizenship as an “act of mercy”.
Akunjee confirmed that legal aid was granted after an application was made on March 19 – but he was forced to hand the case to Ms Peirce.
He said he was unable to take instruction from Begum as authorities at al-Roj refugee camp would not let him see her and so now only represents the family.
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It is understood Peirce applied for legal aid on behalf of the runaway Jihadi bride and satisfied officials that the normal documentation could not be provided by Begum herself.
The SRA confirmed that any attempt by Begum to claim legal aid through Farooq Bajwa would go through stringent checks.
It said that Begum would have to “reapply” for legal aid if she chose to go back to Farooq Bajwa at which points the arrangements would be closely inspected.
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