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Bar feeling angsty over its ‘testosterone overdose’

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Top QC warns of BDE

📷:BDE

The Bar Council has hit back at mounting criticism of the treatment of female barristers, insisting that it is taking action to support women at the bar — after a piece by influential barrister David Pannick QC called out the bar’s “testosterone overdose”.

The organisation representing wig-wearers in England and Wales pointed to a number of schemes in place to help women get on at the bar, as well as to report incidents of harassment.

Sexism at the bar has repeatedly hit the headlines in recent days, with senior legal figures raising concerns about the retention of female advocates in what Criminal Bar Association head Chris Henley QC called an “increasingly hostile environment“.

Henley’s intervention was followed by the Lord Chief Justice himself, who said he had “no doubt” that sexism was a “significant feature” of life at the criminal bar. Lord Burnett of Maldon said that inappropriate conduct “should be called out”.

The Chief Justice’s comments were sparked by Joanna Hardy of Red Lion Chambers, who recited a series of indignities suffered at the hands of male colleagues and judges in a thread that quickly became the talk of legal Twitter. Other barristers rushed to corroborate Hardy’s account, with Charlotte Proudman and Harriet Tyce recounting their own negative experiences.

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Yesterday, David Pannick QC of Blackstone Chambers became the latest heavyweight legal figure to weigh in on the row. Writing in the Times (£), Pannick decryed an “overdose of male testosterone” at the bar. This, the public law ace argued, was causing talented women to hang up their gown and hampering efforts to improve diversity at the top.

Pannick suggested that “it may assist if the Bar Council were to create a mentoring panel of senior women barristers, and if the lord chief justice were to set up a similar panel of senior women judges, to advise aggrieved women counsel”.

In a measure of Pannick’s influence, the Bar Council rushed out a statement retorting that “advice and support for women has been and continues to be a priority” and noting the QC’s suggestion of a mentoring panel. It pointed to an existing Retention Panel “specifically aimed at assisting women” and said that it had worked to make it easier for members of the bar to report harassment.

Pannick was heavily involved in a recent #MeToo scandal in his capacity as a member of the House of Lords. When fellow Blackstone Chambers QC Lord Lester of Herne Hill was recommended for suspension by a Lords committee over sexual harassment allegations, Pannick led peers in a vote to veto the suspension. He and other lords argued that the investigating committee had not followed fair procedures in following up the allegations.

Taking to his regular Times column, Pannick insisted that “on the right to a fair procedure, Lord Lester is entitled to say MeToo”. The 82-year-old resigned anyway, saying that the controversy had taken a toll on his health.

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63 Comments

Correction please

Using the Match of the Day scale of topness, David Pannick is very clearly within the ‘top, top, top’ QC boundary. To badge him as ‘top’ is sloppy and inaccurate.

(26)(1)

Anonymous

I was at the commercial chancery bar in Lincoln’s inn for 14 years, have to confess to not seeing much testosterone there during my time. In fact the opposite, a lot of prancing juniors and queens behaving more like old women than anything else.

(10)(3)

Trust fund with a trust fund

It’s always good to have a bit of a prance after a hard day at work.
On that note, is adam mawardi single atm? My offer still stands

(0)(1)

Anonymous

The problem is not, in actual fact, too much testosterone, it’s ingrained misogyny, which you get as much at the testosterone deficient commercial chancery sets of Lincoln’s Inn and their prancing juniors and queens as you get at the criminal sets.

(6)(4)

Anonymous

There’s also the problem of ingrained misandry, which can also be seen across the Bar, and which is either ignored or treated as a good thing. Until this is acknowledged, nothing will change.

(4)(6)

Anonymous

Examples ?

(4)(1)

Anonymous

Yes, thanks. People who are too quick to criticise males and won’t criticise females.

(2)(3)

Anonymous

See ‘Young Bazza’.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Maybe it’s just that all barristers are reptilian, they hate each other and hate themselves. It’s very rare to see or meet a happy barrister. The whole profession is rather toxic as can be seen by judges who have, for decades, complained that our litigation system doesn’t work. That problem begins with the people who staff the system.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Not all, but some, both male and female.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Mainwaring: I’m afraid I’ve taken an overdose of testosterone.

Jones: Don’t Pannick! Don’t Pannick!

(2)(0)

Anonymous

I hear that the QC selection panel will consider fast tracking your application for silk.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Surprised at Pannick. He talked a lot of sense about the unfair Lester investigation, but clearly panels deliberately composed entirely of women are undesirable in the same way that ones deliberately composed entirely of men would be.

(20)(30)

Anonymous

Pannick is of course wrong on this, as he was on Lester. It was shameful that he tried to stop the implementation of the sanction imposed on Lester by the commissioner and committee, who found that Lester had abused his position and harassed the complainant, and rightly recommended his suspension. Thankfully, when the matter came back to the committee, the committee upheld its decision on the findings about Lester’s conduct and fairness of the process before the commissioner, which was in turn upheld by the Lords when it was remitted to them; the Lords (rightly, in view of Lester’s behaviour) recommended suspending Lester but he jumped before he was pushed.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

There were only allegations against Lester, there were no findings following a fair process as Pannick and the House of Lords pointed out. Remember that an allegation is not the same as a fact. Lester resigned from the House of Lords because of the impact on his health of the botched investigation (he’s 82 years old and went through hell).

(0)(4)

Anonymous

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.legalcheek.com/2018/12/lords-uphold-findings-against-blackstone-barrister-lord-lester/amp/

“Following a heated debate in the House of Lords, peers have upheld an independent report that concluded that Blackstone Chambers barrister, Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC, had sexually harassed a woman.”

(4)(0)

Anonymous

All that happened was that the Lords agreed that the Commissioner and Committee say that they believe Lester breached the Code of Conduct. However, the Lords themselves voted that the process was unfair, and Lester hasn’t been found guilty of harassing anybody following a fair process. You yourself know the process was unfair – that’s why you gave multiple downvotes to a comment above saying that it was unfair in order to give a misleading impression. Unfortunately, much of the investigation into Lester appeared to show a similar lack of good faith.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201719/ldselect/ldprivi/252/25203.htm

When the Lords votes to endorse or agree with a motion of one of its committees, it is not merely agreeing that the committee reached a certain decision; rather, it is affirming or upholding the decision reached, in the same way that an appellate court does so when dismissing an appeal. This is trite and set out in Erskine May.

So the result of all this is that Lord Lester was found by a fair process to have harassed the victim and abused his position in relation to her.

It is little wonder that he saw fit to report himself to the Bar Standards Board – who might think that his behaviour is worthy of professional sanction.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

But that is not true. All that happened was that the Lords agreed that the Commissioner and Committee say that they believe Lester breached the Code of Conduct. However, the Lords themselves voted that the process was unfair, and Lester hasn’t been found guilty of harassing anybody following a fair process. You yourself know the process was unfair – that’s why you gave multiple downvotes to a comment above saying that it was unfair in order to give a misleading impression. Unfortunately, much of the investigation into Lester appeared to show a similar lack of good faith. Hopefully the BSB investigation will be fair.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

In fairness, Hardy, Proudman and Tyce aren’t really ‘heavyweight legal figures’.

(22)(2)

Anonymous

Proudman is!

(0)(4)

Anonymous

not really a ‘heavyweight legal figure’!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Are you commenting on my figure? Name yourself and I shall report you to your regulator!

Charlotte

(3)(0)

Anonymous

How would he know?

That’s a serious question.

Isn’t the difficulties of raising children more likely to be the cause?

What experience does he have to indicate that the issue is instead male sex hormones? Which is as ludicrous as suggesting that the problem is caused by too much beta carotene …

(8)(5)

Anonymous

Yes, because Pannick was talking about a literal overdose of intravenous testosterone. Don’t be so deliberately obtuse.

(16)(3)

Anonymous

Oh I’m sorry, you wanted me to engage with his fatuous argument did you?

His argument that women are leaving the Bar because somehow, in some wholly nebulous way, male barristers (who are from the top 1% of educated children in this country and thus unavoidably nerds) are in fact too manly.

Not only is his premise absurd, his conclusion is misogynistic and deeply patronising. It requires the premise that women, intelligent and highly educated advocates, are in fact such delicate snowflakes that as soon as they encounter “testosterone” they must flee the Bar.

So no, I didn’t think it was a good use3 of time to engage with the noble lords’ ridiculous conclusion – just as he didn’t feel the need to give any evidence.

I’ll stick with my theory that the more likely cause is childcare – which this country is universally bad at providing and which is still, in a way which is itself sexist, associated with women.

(23)(9)

Anonymous

Piss off.

(0)(20)

Anonymous

There hasn’t really been ‘mounting criticism’ of the treatment of female barristers – in fact that the vast majority of opinion is against the recent claims.

(13)(10)

Drumpfenkrieg

Have you come across journalism before?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Why, can’t you find some?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Someone doesn’t really understand the meaning of BDE

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I am brimming with big dick energy. Why? Because I have a big dick.

(10)(1)

Sally from Accounts

How big?

(4)(0)

TRAVIS

Its a pretty dig bick.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

For a wasp, yes.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Harriet Tyce isn’t a practicing barrister.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

*practising

(2)(0)

Anonymous

* she isn’t

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Hardly ‘angsty’ to highlight the current measures in place to promote diversity. Certainly a lot less ‘angsty’ than Hardy’s tweets.

(0)(2)

Anonymous

This is just ridiculous, the bar by its very nature is a cut through industry. I assume Pannick is reffering to the dominance of persons who exhibit dominant behaviours traditionally associated with masculinity, such as agressivness, argumentativeness, egotism, and doggedness, in contrast to more agreeable behaviors when he refers to a “testosterone overload” at the bar.

It is true that such traits dominate certain areas of the bar. However, Panick fails to realise or intentionally ignores due to empty posturing, that such traits are necessary for success at the bar.

An agreeable easily triggered snowflake barrister whether male or female is unlikely to dedicate the resolve necessary to secure justice for client in an extremely complex case defined for example by extremely graphic, or unsavoury matters, or in cases where the overwhelming amount of prima facie evidence against a client.

Promoting imperatives that encourage inclusiveness is fine. However, the promotion of such imperatives should not be at the expense of competence. As court advocates barristers are typically used when all other forms of dispute resolution have completely failed and in such circumstances the last thing you need is an advocate that the lacks the resolve necessary to withstand the vigours of litigation.

(6)(9)

Anonymous

What a load of tosh!

(4)(4)

Anonymous

Testosterone overdose??? Most male barristers are highly insecure, alcoholic, manipulative, overweight, narcissistic, entitled snobs. If anything, they lack testosterone. Place one of them next to the hot personal trainer and be honest about who you would rather spend time with.

Harassment is founded on this narcissistic sense of entitlement and the fact that many women find them sexually unappealing beyond their financial ability to provide a nice life.

Deep down they know this. Tell them the truth and watch the anger explode.

(20)(3)

Anonymous

What are your views on female barristers?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I feel sincerely sorry for what they have to put up with

(5)(2)

Anonymous

In other words what you’re saying is that you’re prejudiced against male barristers and that your views should be treated accordingly.

(4)(7)

Female Barrister

Come to Mummy!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

No, because you’d only claim afterwards that you were sexually harassed and that it stopped you getting promoted to partner because of your gender.

(0)(1)

Young bazza

As a man i co-sign this. You do get exceptions, but the majority are uber nerds with poor social skills and drink too much. I feel sorry for young female barristers and clerks. I have witnessed ‘respected’ QCs at parties with their tongues dripping from their mouths when a decent looking woman approaches them. It was disgusting to watch, and these dudes have no game.

(14)(2)

Anonymous

What are your views on female barristers drinking habits, social skills and nerdiness?

(3)(4)

Young bazza

Not the subject here bro. If that article is up, we can discuss that then.

(8)(2)

Anonymous

You brought the subject up bro. Sounds like you’re frightened to give your opinion on the drinking habits, social skills and nerdiness of female barristers. Kind of undermines your generalisations about male barristers.

(3)(2)

Young bazza

Article is about male barristers. If there is an article about female barristers then send me a pm and we can discuss it then. I know you’re fresh out of Uni and desperate to carry on debating like in the Student Union, but please pass me on this.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

You’ve got yourself into a hole haven’t you – the article is about barristers, male and female. You commented about the drinking habits, social skills and nerdiness of male barristers but you’re frightened to do the same about females. You sound either like a female pretending to be male or a male trying to slag off other males to impress the laydeez – in either case you’re making an awful fool of yourself.

(4)(3)

Anonymous

Yeah, I think a nerve has been struck.

Proves most male barristers are social Ebola.

Anonymous

A nerve has indeed been struck. Why do you think the comments show that ‘most male barristers are social ebola’ and what are your views on female barristers?

Anonymous

Clifford Chance has a BDE problem

(0)(0)

Anonymous

This is what the real world is like. It’s hard work, tough and competitive. In many cases barristers represent a client whose livelihood is on the line and will want a barrister to give their heart and soul into a case. Some barristers really enjoy this type of environment and will attract a certain type of clients who will pay top dollar for excellence

(6)(1)

Anonymous

When are people going to stop trying to boost their own PR profile by referring to the sexual inequality at the Bar!

Yes, it’s a problem. Just like it’s a problem in every other sector. It’s a societal problem. But it’s certainly improving at the Bar and it takes a long time to filter through.

Frankly the Bar has much bigger issues. The discrimination suffered by women is not to be forgotten but, equally, this is invariably a problem suffered by middle class, educated white women, i.e. the ones who could even make it in the first place.

I’m fed up with the shameless publicity hunting and invariably looking at Legal Cheek to see this same issue regurgitated every week. It’s lazy and boring.

(7)(4)

Anonymous

“We don’t believe you. You need more people.”

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Bored of who can write the most inane suck up to the moaning “We want 50%” brigade.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Why is LC deleting comments expressing critical opinions of male barristers in general terms?

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Because they were so embarassing.

(0)(8)

1 bottle.

Well a mandatory bottle of soylent with every meal will take care of that.

(3)(0)

Comments are closed.

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