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

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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.

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“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.

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2 Comments

Anonymous

This isn’t clear – was he fined for saying that solicitor applicants were favoured, or did the BSB not believe him and he was found to have been referring to her race/gender?

Either way, it isn’t diminishing the trust and confidence placed by the public in barristers to express a genuine opinion, even if that opinion is wrong.

(437)(748)

Anti Mini-Richards

Calling some one a diversity hire is hurtful. Its like saying you were only hired because of your minority identity, not because you are a qualified and on par candidate like the rest of us.

(317)(164)

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