Formal warning for Court of Appeal judge who was ‘rude and hostile’ towards barrister

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By Thomas Connelly on


‘Judicial bullying’

A senior judge has been issued with a formal warning after he was found to have behaved in a “rude and hostile manner” towards a barrister during a hearing.

The Court of Appeal’s Lord Justice Clive Lewis “intervened excessively” in the unnamed barrister’s submissions throughout the hearing, in a manner which became “increasingly harsh and rude” and to the extent that it constituted “judicial bullying”.

The experienced judge had accepted he had allowed his frustrations at the hearing to show and reflected that he should have handled matters differently, according to a finding published by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO). He apologised at the hearing.

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A spokesperson for the JCIO said the Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor agreed to issue the judge with a formal warning, after “they took into consideration the mitigation offered… including his apology and commitment to learn from the experience and adjust his behaviour in future”.

No further details about the incident were provided.

Lord Justice Lewis called to the bar in 1987 and began practice in 1992 with a focus judicial review and public law matters. He was appointed to the High Court, Queen’s Bench Division (now King’s Bench Division) in 2013 and was appointed as a Lord Justice of Appeal in October 2020.


Judicial Incompetence

Why is nobody also talking about the fact that the JCIO issued Derek Sweeting J (former Chair of the Bar Council, 2021-22!) formal advice for misconduct? Statement released on 28/09/23:

“Following an investigation carried out under the Judicial Conduct (Judicial and other office-holders) Rules 2014, a nominated judge found that Mr Justice Sweeting had not issued a judgment in a timely manner and failed to immediately recognise the consequences of his actions. The judgment was not issued until fourteen months after the initial hearing.

Mr Justice Sweeting apologised and acknowledged that the judgment should have been completed earlier. In mitigation he cited his busy sitting schedule and personal matters.”

A 14-month delay in issuing a judgment is outrageous.


“they took into consideration the mitigation offered… including his apology and commitment to learn from the experience and adjust his behaviour in future”

Man has been a judge for 20 years. You would think by now he would have learnt not to be rude and hostile.


Why is it that solicitors appear to be subject to far more stringent (at least on the junior level) oversight and regulation than barristers and the judiciary? In an equivalent hypothetical example involving a solicitor, the SRA would’ve launched nuclear warfare on them

A non-knee mousse

And even then, the sh*t rolls downhill to junior solicitors, while seasoned partners get away with all sorts.

Archibald O'Pomposity

The SRA would not have launched nuclear warfare on a solicitor who was rude and hostile to another party. They have not – at least, I assume – developed the hardware or capability to launch nuclear warfare, and had they done so, their work would surely have been detected and thwarted by counter-terrorism agencies. Moreover, in the highly unlikely scenario that the SRA had covertly developed the ability to launch nuclear warfare on an errant solicitor, they would decline to do so, because it would simply not be a proportional response to a case of incivility.


You must be fun parties

Archibald O'Pomposity

This judge is paid a lot of money to suffer fools; except, of course, in the limited scenarios where he is entitled to make fools suffer. This was not one of the latter. He should have known better.


I want to see the transcript. I’m sure we’ve all seen examples of this in the lower courts – it’d be good to know where the JCIO has drawn the line in this instance.


Boo frickety hoo!


“Bullying” is quickly becoming a meaningless word. Just slap it on any interaction where one person comes off worse for wear and wants to legitimise their grievance. It sounds so childish and impotent.
Can we at least call it “misconduct” or something?

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