Barrister suggested female Asian judge landed role due to ‘positive discrimination’

Avatar photo

By Thomas Connelly on

Fined and reprimanded

An experienced barrister has been fined by a disciplinary tribunal for suggesting a female Asian judge only secured her position as a result of “positive discrimination”.

A Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS) panel found that Timothy Becker had behaved in a way which was likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in a barrister.

In the course of representing a defendant in a civil dispute, Becker is said to have sent an email to the claimant which suggested that the deputy district judge in the proceedings, who happened to be female and Asian, had only secured her position as result of “positive discrimination” in the judicial recruitment process.

But Becker — who heads Burlington Chambers in London, according to his LinkedIn — said he was referring to positive discrimination in favour of solicitor applicants, which he incorrectly believed she was.

The 2020-21 Legal Cheek Chambers Most List

“I accept that my remark could have been misinterpreted as a reference to the learned DDJ’s gender or race,” the barrister said in a statement. “I was not accused by the BSB of unlawful race or sex discrimination.”

He continued: “I have always supported and encouraged BAME and female barrister applicants and continue to do so. I will continue with my long-standing commitment to equality and diversity at the bar. I was happy that the other charge brought against me was dismissed and very grateful to my counsel, Marc Beaumont.”

Becker, who was called to be bar in 1992, was reprimanded and fined £750.

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

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub

Related Stories

‘Extremely drunk’ senior partner fined £10k after kissing and touching paralegal in wine bar

Incident followed ‘extended lunch’ with colleagues

Sep 8 2020 10:34am

Defence barrister fined £1,000 for ‘pulling faces’ at judge

She also described a decision as ‘insane'

Jun 5 2020 7:55am

£1,600 fine for solicitor who forwarded ‘grossly offensive’ email to colleague

Paul Kenneth Breen was department head of Liverpool outfit when he passed on email derogatory to women

Mar 10 2020 10:36am