The bar's system for disciplining errant barristers is in disarray after a high court judge's ruling that it breaches human rights laws, which could entitle dozens of disbarred, suspended and reprimanded barristers to reopen their cases.

The situation is a huge embarrassment to the Bar Council because the ruling means its disciplinary process has for years breached rules of human rights and natural justice which require cases to be heard by an independent and impartial tribunal.

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