News

Matrix Chambers under fire for its handling of sex assault allegation against top QC

By on
23

Just when you thought it was all over…

Ben Emmerson QC

A Matrix Chambers investigation which concluded “without hesitation” one of its QCs did not commit any act of sexual assault or harassment has been called into question.

The Times today reports the leading London set has been “thrown into crisis” over the handling of a sex assault allegation against Ben Emmerson QC. The top barrister was accused of assaulting a woman in a lift, an allegation he “categorically denied” at the time and has continued to deny since.

The allegation received media interest because Emmerson was the head lawyer at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) at the time the alleged assault took place, and the woman who claimed she was assaulted said it happened at the IICSA’s headquarters. Emmerson left his IICSA post and Matrix Chambers instructed retired High Court judge Sir David Calvert-Smith to investigate the allegation.

Calvert-Smith produced his report late last year but it is confidential. We do know, however, it concluded “without hesitation” that Emmerson had not committed any act of sexual assault or sexual harassment. Matrix “accepted Sir David’s findings”.

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

And so we thought it was all over — and it seems Emmerson did too. In the wake of Calvert-Smith’s findings, the top barrister reportedly said:

“This has been a difficult period and I am naturally very pleased that an independent senior judge has now confirmed that the allegations against me were always unfounded. I hope that the inquiry can now be left to get on with its important work, free from unnecessary distractions.”

But it isn’t all over, according to a report in The Times. The newspaper claims Calvert-Smith’s report “caused divisions at Matrix” and the set, following complaints, decided to commission another review. This review is being led by Dame Laura Cox QC, who is listed as a discrimination and equality specialist at London set Cloisters.

The Times’ report continues: “According to an internal email to Matrix members, Dame Laura, whose report was completed in July but has been kept secret, was asked to look at ‘the adequacy of Matrix rules, practices and procedures’. The Cox report is understood to be critical of the legal approach and some of the findings of the Calvert-Smith investigation and concluded that Matrix had been wrong to accept its conclusions so readily.”

It’s also been reported Matrix has emailed its barristers, asking them to “give a no comment response” to the media if contacted regarding this matter. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Legal Cheek’s attempts to contact Emmerson have been unsuccessful. A Matrix spokesperson told us:

“Matrix does not intend to make any public comment on what are plainly confidential internal matters.”

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek's careers events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub

23 Comments

Anonymous

‘Without hesitation’ no wrong doing was committed?!

That simply will not do in 2017! I demand another investigation.. and another.. and another.. until we can finally say he did it!

What a load of tosh – cleared of all wrong doing by an independent judge and people still aren’t happy.

Just Anonymous

I don’t understand this.

Why is Matrix instructing legal practitioners – or, indeed, anyone – to investigate criminal allegations – namely, sexual assault.

That’s a matter for the police. And if the police aren’t taking this further, then neither should anyone else.

Anonymous

The original report was never published, the second report has not been published – impossible to know if the second report’s criticisms of the first report are justified or not. Sounds like a few people within Matrix reckon that Emerson did it though (whatever ‘it’ was on this occasion, which we also don’t know).

Just Anonymous

That doesn’t answer my question.

Why isn’t this matter being left to the police?

Anonymous

Yeah, sorry, I didn’t mean to post that as a reply to you. However, I expect that the answer is that Matrix has a duty of care to its members and employees which obliges it to look into allegations of this sort regardless of whether or not they are the subject of a criminal investigation. If you compare it to how an employer would have to treat such allegations it doesn’t seem that odd at all.

Anonymous

Also, given that Matrix have expressly told members not to talk to outsiders about this, if there is a victim and if s/he is a member of chambers and wishes to remain a member, presumably s/he feels that complaining to the police is not an option.

Anonymous

It makes a cover-up easier if you instruct a sympathetic retired HCJ …

Anonymous

Please people, start calling this pretentious hypocritical Chambers by its real name….Ratmix

Impressed

See what you’ve done there

Anonymous

These are not isolated issues at the Bar. At least Matrix had the good sense to investigate. I know of one set that when it received a harassment complaint against a silk instead tried to defend itself by launching an attack on the character and credibility of the complainant and did nothing whatsoever to investigate the complaint (which was never denied) itself. Absolutely shameful behavior. The complainant was urged to take matters further but it was clear that if they were taken further, the set would do its best to sabotage the complainant’s career.

Anonymous

Commercial chancery set in Lincoln’s Inn was it?

Anonymous

The complainant was a fool not to take proceedings. This type of behaviour will persist as long as it goes unpunished and as long as people put the risk to their careers ahead of the need to throw light onto bullying and harassment by superiors in these kinds of institutional settings.

Anonymous

Did you not read this bit > “it was clear that if they were taken further, the set would do its best to sabotage the complainant’s career” ?

You don’t have to be a “fool” not to want to give up a six figure salary, particularly if you have dependents, for the sake of dragging some old duffer through the courts.

Anonymous

Gossip going round Lincoln’s Inn is that that set’s days are numbered.

Anonymous

Presumably the set in question is Weinstein Chambers?

Anonymous

That’s genius

Anonymous

It failed some time ago.

Trumpenkrieg

So, at the last count we have:

-Brendan Cox, vociferous left wing charity wallah and husband of murdered MP Jo Cox, having to leave Save the Children because of allegations of being a sex pest.

-Former Co-operative Bank boss and Labour councillor Paul Flowers aka “the Crystal Methodist” caught taking Class A drugs with rent boys during a hot-tub party in his home during a four-day binge.

-Top civil rights QC Ben Emmerson of top lefty chambers Matrix being accused of sexual impropriety in chambers and the chambers itself accused of a coverup.

-Keith Vaz, who misses no opportunity to signal in favour of immigration and how good it is for this country, has a long record of corruption and was caught fucking male prostitutes whilst doing coke

-Harvey Weinstein, big time donor to the Democrats and friend of Hillary Clinton revealed as a sexual predator by a raft of women (also revealed that big time Hollywood liberals including husband of Legal Cheek Favourite Amal ‘clothes horse’ Amaluddin, George Clooney, might have covered up for him).

-Unbearably smug doughy liberal beta male and Hillary supporter Seth Rogen accused of sexual assault by an actress in the wake of the Weinstein revelations

-Major shitlib mouthpiece, Twitter (run by a white dude whose gay partner is none other than BLM spokesman Deray Mckesson) rushing to censor the women accusing Weinstein and other actors.

-Bill Clinton paying off women who accused him of rape

It’s almost as if being an outspoken supporter of left wing causes and political parties is the ideal cover for being a filthy stinking degenerate!

Anonymous

You forgot Donald Trump, republican President.

Jimmy Savile, close friend of Tory PM.

David Cameron, conservative PM and pig botherer.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, republican governor accused of being a sex pest.

It’s almost as if you just picked people to name that suit your political agenda!

Trumpenkrieg

My point is about left wing hypocrisy, is not that “only lefties rape”.

My point is these people spend a lifetime virtue signalling but are revealed upon inspection to be all signal and no virtue.

Sir Geffroy De Joinville, the Lawyer with a French accent, who knows some German words

How come Trumpenkrieg is no more verboten? Vellassen , verlassen are we

Ciaran Goggins

I had Graeme Stening in the back of me cab once.

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

Join the conversation

Related Stories