Joanna Toch apologises after ill-judged remark
A family law barrister who posted an “offensive” and “unacceptable” tweet following the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new baby has been suspended by the law firm she founded.
Joanna Toch has been suspended with immediate effect “pending an internal review”, Family Law Cafe (FLC) confirmed in a statement on Monday.
The Chancery Lane outfit said it considered the barrister’s comments to be “offensive, unacceptable and highly contradictory to the inclusive manner in which FLC has always and will continue to work with members of all communities in managing the challenges of matrimonial and family dispute”.
— Family Law Cafe (@FamilyLawCafe) June 7, 2021
Toch’s suspension came after an ill-judged remark about the name of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new baby, Lilibet ‘Lily’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, in a tweet posted on Sunday evening (screenshot below).
The experienced barrister, who founded Family Law Cafe in 2014, tweeted: “No Doria? Don’t black names matter?” Doria Ragland is the name of Markle’s mother.
The tweet was in response to journalist Julie Burchill, who caused widespread anger and upset by posting: “What a missed opportunity. They could have called it Georgina Floydina!”
Burchill’s comment is in reference to George Floyd, whose murder in the US sparked mass Black Lives Matter protests around the world.
Toch later apologised for her post, tweeting:
“I am very sorry for the comment and what I saw as a joke. I’ve fought during my professional life against racism which is abhorrent. I’m not a judge and I have children of colour and I apologise unreservedly.”
The barrister’s Twitter account now appears to have been deleted.
Toch told Legal Cheek: “I confirm FLC have taken that step [the suspension] and I will work with the company in their investigation.”
The Bar Standards Board (BSB) previously issued guidance on how barristers should conduct themselves online, warning that comments designed to “demean or insult are likely to diminish public trust and confidence in the profession”.