Barrister penalised for “positive discrimination” remark on judge

Barrister was sanctioned after implying judge got role because she was female and Asian

Barrister penalised for “positive discrimination” remark on judge

A veteran barrister has been reprimanded and fined by a disciplinary tribunal for suggesting that a female Asian judge only landed her position because of “positive discrimination.” 

Timothy Becker, who was called to the Bar in 1992 and currently heads Burlington Chambers in London, was found to have behaved in a manner that “diminishes public trust and confidence in the profession,” according to a Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS) panel.

The panel fined the barrister £750.

Becker made the comment while representing a defendant in a civil dispute in August 2018.

In an e-mail sent to the claimant, Becker indicated that the deputy district judge, who is female and of Asian descent, secured the role because of positive discrimination in the judicial recruitment process.

However, Becker said he was referring to positive discrimination favouring solicitor applicants, which he admittedly thought the judge was.

“I accept that my remark could have been misinterpreted as a reference to the learned DDJ’s gender or race,” he said in a statement.

“I was not accused by the BSB of unlawful race or sex discrimination. 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,” the barrister said.

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