Judge in Tom Hayes rate ‘rigging’ case accused of conflict of interest


One of the three judges who rejected the appeal of Tom Hayes against his interest rate “rigging” charges failed to declare a conflict of interest, the former trader’s legal team has claimed.

Karen Todner, Hayes’s solicitor, has written to the Court of Appeal asking for “an explanation” after she discovered that Mr Justice Bryan previously had sat on a key case in which the court found against Christian Bittar, another trader accused of manipulating an interest rate benchmark.

Todner said she was “very concerned” about Bryan’s involvement in an unsuccessful pre-trial appeal by Bittar and has requested that the judge now plays no part in the court’s consideration of whether Hayes’ case is referred to the Supreme Court.

Last Wednesday, the Court of Appeal upheld the convictions of Hayes and Carlo Palombo, a former Barclays trader, for manipulating Libor and Euribor respectively. The rate benchmarks underpinned trillions of dollars of transactions. This was after a referral by the Criminal Cases Review Commission in light of a decision in the United States that appeared to contradict the basis for the convictions.

The 2018 Bittar judgment, with Bryan’s name on it, was among five cases that appeared in an agreed “bundle” shared with parties before last month’s three-day hearing. However, Todner says she and Hayes made the connection only on Thursday, a day after the Court of Appeal judgment had been handed down. She said the issue should have been formally disclosed.

“I am very concerned that one of the judges considering this appeal had in fact been party to one of the previous decisions, the correctness of which was under challenge. Had I been aware of that fact, those concerns would have been raised with the court,” she wrote.

David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, said the case should be referred to the Supreme Court because the judiciary had “misunderstood” it and had left the UK as an international outlier. He said it was “common sense” that Bryan should not have been involved.

A spokeswoman for the Judicial Press Office declined to comment, citing the possibility of future hearings.