THE barrister sacked by the owners and operators of a power station during a high-profile inquest into the deaths of two engineers in an explosion at one of their plants has claimed it is inappropriate for Mr Justice Sears to hear a civil case against him. Michael Ford was due to appear before Mr Justice Sears in the High Court yesterday to answer allegations that he breached the confidentiality of his clients and neglected his duty as their counsel. The barrister, who now lives in England and who, it was revealed in court yesterday, had filed for bankruptcy, failed to turn up at the hearing. The court heard he had sent a series of faxes from an address in Gloucestershire seeking to have the case adjourned. Mr Justice Sears told the hearing that among the faxes was an allegation that he had said in open court there was no defence to the claims. As a consequence, Mr Ford felt it inappropriate that he should hear the case. Dismissing the request, Mr Justice Sears said he had not ''predetermined any issue''. He also denied making any such statement in open court. The accusations against Mr Ford relate to a period last year when he was employed by China Light and Power (CLP) and the Castle Peak Power Company (CAPCO). He represented them at the inquest into the deaths of Yip Ka-pui, 41, and Wong Kwong-yu, 38, who were killed in the blast at Castle Peak power station in August 1992. Mr Ford was sacked during the inquest. He then brought an action for unfair dismissal against the Exxon Corporation in Texas, which is a part-owner of CAPCO, claiming US$125 million (HK$965.3 million) in damages. Mr Ford later revealed the existence of two reports on the cause of the explosion which were not made available at the inquest. As a result, the Attorney-General, Jeremy Mathews, ordered it to be reopened. At the resumed hearing, the jury overturned its original verdict of accidental death in favour of death by lack of care. However, at a judicial review called for by CLP earlier this year, Mr Justice Liu ordered that the original verdict should be reinstated. Yesterday, the Legal Department confirmed it was appealing against Mr Justice Liu's decision. At yesterday's hearing, former attorney-general John Griffiths QC, for CLP and CAPCO, said that in addition to damages, his clients were seeking the return of confidential documents they allege Mr Ford has in his possession. Mr Justice Sears revealed that Mr Ford had appealed to have overturned a decision not to grant him legal aid. As such, he wanted a stay in proceedings. Yesterday morning, Mr Justice Sears said he would hear the application. In the afternoon he said in the interests of fairness it would be better if someone else did. The appeal on whether Mr Ford should get legal aid will be at 2 pm today.