Paul Barber

Mystery illness strikes ‘Judge’ Paul Barber

THE ‘FORMER’ district court judge who chairs the Crown agency established six years ago to raise confidence in the real estate industry supposedly has a mystery illness which causes symptoms usually associated with winos.

The Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal has gone into damage control mode following Paul Barber’s extraordinary outburst in a media interview two months ago where it appeared he was heavily intoxicated.

The phone call followed allegations Barber had obtained the chairman’s position by deceit because he was not a barrister or solicitor at the time of his appointment – a requirement under legislation governing the Tribunal.

In that call, Barber was also confronted about why he continually referred to himself as a district court judge when he no longer had a legal right to do so.

In a follow-up phone call several weeks later seeking further answers about his irrational conduct and failure to respond to written media questions, the 78-year-old again appeared inebriated. He had slurred speech and could barely pronounce the word ‘registrar’.   Read more »

Sober as a ‘Judge’

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PAUL BARBER likes to call himself a judge.

But judge the ‘judge’ or dare call his conduct into question and Barber runs a mile.

We know because we phoned the 78-year-old the other night to confront him for a third time – yes, a third time – about what right he had to call himself a judge.

Judge or no judge, we believe we’ve got a right to ask him that question.

And we say Barber has a legal and moral obligation to answer it.

But that’s the thing with questions. No one much likes them unless they have all the answers.

In this instance, Paul Barber doesn’t have the answers.

That, we’re sure of. We’ve given Barber ample opportunity to explain himself and each time he’s come up short.   Read more »

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The questions we asked ‘Judge’ Paul Barber

THE MINISTRY of Justice is sticking to its guns over the legal standing of retired district court judge Paul Barber and his right to chair three Government-appointed judicial bodies.

The 78-year-old is already facing allegations he obtained the top job with the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal “by deceit” because he was not a barrister or solicitor at the time of his appointment – a requirement under legislation governing the Tribunal.

He’s also been accused of masquerading as a district court judge when he is not one.

Now there are questions over Barber and his chairmanship of the Taxation Review Authority.

Like the Tribunal, the chair of the Authority must either be a judge or a barrister or solicitor with at least seven years experience.

Since Barber’s warrant expired in March 2012, he has ruled on nearly two-dozen cases before the Taxation Review Authority involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. His last case was only last month and like every other decision on record since 2012, Barber is referred to as ‘Judge P F Barber’.

Ministry spokesman Matt Torbit said Barber was admitted to the Bar following his graduation in 1963. He was enrolled as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court and had more than seven years’ legal experience, he said.

It was not a requirement of the Taxation Review Authorities Act 1994 for a judicial office of the Authority to hold a practising certificate.

However, Auckland University law professor Bill Hodge said his understanding of the law was that the reference to “a barrister and solicitor of 7 years standing” meant current standing.

A barrister was defined under section six of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 as a person “enrolled as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court… and practicing as a barrister,” he said.    Read more »

Recusal applications at Taxation Review Authority

IT’S a high-powered role demanding insight, sound judgment and a grasp of highly complex tax laws.

And it’s on all three that retired district court judge Paul Barber is found wanting, according to allegations contained in a recent Taxation Review Authority decision which provides perhaps some insight into why the law requires anyone hearing tax matters to either be a district court judge or a barrister or solicitor with no less than seven years experience.

Barber is neither a judge nor a lawyer. He last held a warrant as an acting district court judge back in 2012 and hasn’t held a practicing certificate, a requirement as a barrister or solicitor, since 2012.

In a decision issued in July on behalf of the Authority, the ‘disputants’ claim 78-year-old Barber appeared ‘confused’ during a hearing into their dispute with Inland Revenue over GST returns.  Read more »

Questions over two more Authorities that have ‘Judge’ Paul Barber as their chair

THE CONTROVERSY over the legal credentials of former district court judge Paul Barber has now widened to include two more judicial bodies.

The 78-year-old is already facing allegations he obtained the top job with the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal “by deceit” because he was not a barrister or solicitor at the time of his appointment – a requirement under legislation governing the Tribunal.

In order to be formally recognised as a barrister or solicitor, it is a requirement under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act that you have a practising certificate which states you are a ‘fit and proper person” to practice law.

It is understood Barber last held a practicing certificate back in 2008.

Making matters worse is the fact that during his four years in charge of the independent body responsible for determining disciplinary charges against real estate agents, Barber has been masquerading as a district court judge.

The last time Barber had a legitimate right to call himself a judge was during the 12-month period leading up to March 2012, the date in which his warrant as an acting district court judge expired.

Now Whaleoil can reveal questions over Barber and his apparent lack of any legal credentials might not just be confined to the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal but could also have implications for two other judicial bodies as well.

Since Barber’s acting warrant expired in March 2012, he has ruled on nearly two- dozen cases before the Taxation Review Authority involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. His last case was only last month and like every other decision on record since 2012, Barber is referred to as ‘Judge P F Barber’.    Read more »

Second bid to remove embattled ‘judge’ Paul Barber as chair of READT

A SECOND bid has been lodged to remove embattled retired district court judge Paul Barber as chairman of the organisation seen as the last line of defence against rogue real estate agents.

For the past four years Barber has been in charge of the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal, the independent body responsible for determining disciplinary charges against real estate agents.

Public dissatisfaction with agents was one of the driving forces behind major industry reforms introduced in 2008, which made it mandatory for agents to legally comply with prescribed rules relating to their conduct and the way they care for clients.

The conduct and client-care rules are backed by a multi-level complaints system administered by the tribunal – with Barber, who claims to be 78-years-old, at the helm.

But there are now serious questions over Barber’s conduct – and whether he has any legal standing as chairman.

This week a second application was filed with the tribunal challenging Barber’s right to remain as head of the tribunal.

The application filed by Dermot Nottingham, his brother Phillip and colleague Earle McKinney claims Barber committed a ’fraudulent’ act by referring to himself as a judge when he was not one.   Read more »

Complainant in bid to remove ‘Judge’ Paul Barber from Chair of READT

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A FORMAL bid has been lodged challenging the legal standing of the chairman of the Crown agency established six years ago to raise public confidence in the real estate industry.

The move is the latest in an unfolding constitutional crisis threatening the credibility of the organisation seen as the last line of defence against rogue real estate agents.

Whaleoil can confirm an appellant, Dunedin man Russell McDougall, who has filed an appeal to the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal under section 111 of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 has filed an application for recusal challenging the legal status of 78-year-old Paul Barber as head of the READT.

McDougall also confirmed a letter would be sent this week to Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges demanding Barber’s immediate removal from the post.

The recusal application is in response to claims Barber’s appointment in 2011 was ‘unlawful’ and in breach of legislation heralding a new environment of accountability for the industry.

Under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008, the person appointed to chair the Tribunal, must be a barrister or solicitor with at least seven years’ legal experience’.    Read more »

A reader emails

A reader emails some thoughts about the situation with Paul Barber at the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal:

The claim that simply being enrolled as a barrister and solicitor at the High Court is sufficient to meet the employment criteria to chair the Tribunal is a falsehood, a fraud, and as such possibly liable to prosecution pursuant to section 240 of the Crimes Act 1961 which relates;

240 Obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception

(1) Every one is guilty of obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception who, by any deception and without claim of right,—

(a) obtains ownership or possession of, or control over, any property, or any privilege, service, pecuniary advantage, benefit, or valuable consideration, directly or indirectly; or    Read more »

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

The Barber Issue and why the law is important

Paul Barber was appointed four years ago to head the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal in a move supposedly heralding a new environment of accountability for the industry.

However, there’s now conflicting opinion about whether the 78-year-old has any legal standing as chairman. Today we examine the issues.


IT WAS once said when it comes to privacy and accountability, people always demand the former for themselves and the latter for everyone else.

And so events of the past week have proven.

When the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal was established seven years ago it was supposed to usher in a new level of accountability for an industry plagued by bad publicity, ill will and stories of greedy agents, guided more by self-interest than the best interests of their clients.

'Judge' Paul Barber

‘Judge’ Paul Barber

But accountability is a two way street.

It generally starts at the top with leaders who inspire accountability through their ability to accept responsibility.

Not so in the case of ‘Judge’ Paul Barber, the man handpicked by the Government as the last line of defence against rogue real estate agents.

In the past week there’s been nothing resembling the word accountability from the man who’s spent four years masquerading as a district court judge.

Over that time Barber has signed off the Tribunal’s annual reports to the Government as ‘Judge Barber’ and at Tribunal hearings, he always introduces himself as Judge Barber.

On the Tribunal website he’s down as “Judge Barber’, on Tribunal decisions he signs off as ‘Judge PF Barber’ – his White Pages listing even says ‘Judge Barber’.

Barber used to be a district court judge. He no longer is – and hasn’t been since 2011.

There’s an important distinction to be drawn there.    Read more »

MoJ and Crown Law in stand off over Paul Barber issue

THE MINISTRY of Justice is standing behind former district court judge Paul Barber as more damning evidence emerged yesterday exposing him as a fraud.

Barber was appointed four years ago to head the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal in a move supposedly heralding a new environment of accountability for the industry.

However, there’s now conflicting opinion about whether the 78-year-old has any legal standing as chairman.

This follows confirmation from the New Zealand Law Society this week that Barber did not hold a practicing certificate – a requirement under legislation passed in 2008 governing the Tribunal.

Making matters worse is the fact Barber has been masquerading as a district court judge – a title he hasn’t legitimately held since 2012.

On the Tribunal website Barber is referred to as “Judge Barber’. On tribunal decisions he signs off as ‘Judge PF Barber’ – he’s even down as ‘Judge PF Barber’ on his White Pages listing.

This week Whaleoil also received an audio recording from a Tribunal hearing in 2014 where Barber introduced himself to the various litigants as Judge Barber.

But worse still, for four years running Barber has signed off the Tribunal’s annual reports to the Government as ‘Judge Barber’.    Read more »

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.