Ex-Freshfields partner Ryan Beckwith launches High Court challenge over tribunal ruling

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By Thomas Connelly on

City lawyer was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay £200,000 in costs for drunken sexual incident with junior colleague

Ex-Freshfields partner Ryan Beckwith who was fined by a disciplinary tribunal after it found he engaged in sexual activity with a drunken junior colleague has lodged an appeal against the ruling in the High Court.

In October, a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) found Beckwith initiated and or engaged in sexual activity with a female colleague when he knew or ought to have known that she was heavily intoxicated to the extent her judgement was impaired. The tribunal made no finding on the question of consent to sexual activity.

Beckwith, a former restructuring and insolvency partner in the magic circle firm’s London office, was fined £35,000 and ordered to pay costs of £200,000.

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Confirming the appeal, Beckwith’s lawyer, Nick Brett of London law firm Brett Wilson, said:

“On Wednesday 19 February 2020, Mr Beckwith filed grounds to appeal against the decision of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal dated 30 January 2020 and it would not be appropriate to comment further pending the hearing in the High Court which will be listed in due course.”

The news comes just 48-hours after the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) confirmed it would not appeal the tribunal’s decision to fine rather than suspend Beckwith.

In reaching its decision, the SDT said the City lawyer’s misconduct was the result of a “lapse in his judgement that was highly unlikely to be repeated”, and that he did not pose “a future risk to the public”.

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