Tweeting Barrister Fined

| General


On 14th July 2022 news emerged of a barrister who had found himself under sanction from the Bar Standards Board. 

What Happened In The Case?

The barrister at the centre of the proceedings had been called to the bar around the turn of the Millennium way back when in the year 2000. He had been employed by a well-known chamber and had seemingly been working without any troubles, issues or scandals for just shy of two decades. However, in the ten months between September 2018 and June 2019, the regulator appear to have become concerned, sceptical and worried about the behaviour of the barrister. Evidence began to surface in the form of messages sent from an account on the social media platform Twitter which were described as disrespectful and unprofessional and appeared to have been targeted against a distinguished lawyer who specialises in human rights law. Arguably the most surprising aspect was the fact that the social media tweets were aimed at a highly experienced lawyer from his chambers.

The Bar Standards Board were very critical of the lawyer’s behaviour because he had facilitated, permitted and procured the sending of these disturbing messages from his Twitter account. The Regulator commented on the effect the lawyer’s behaviour was having on the legal profession after the proceedings. It summarised the effect of the barrister’s behaviour by saying that the conduct had the potential to deplete the trust and confidence in the lawyer in his esteemed position as a legal professional and the industry as a whole. 

The lawyer’s employment with the barristers’ chambers appears to have been terminated by the barristers’ chambers after a seemingly successful nineteen-year career with them. However, on closer inspection, there appears to have been a correlative and causative link between his exiting the chambers in 2019 and the events which had led up to it. There were clickable links which allowed the offensive tweets to be accessed. The social media page appeared to have been used as a campaign tool which aimed its venom at those groups who were speaking out on the alleged antisemitic culture which has reportedly taken hold of the Labour Party, his Royal Highness’ opposition. 

When the account was investigated somewhat further those investigating discovered that the Twitter page 

  • had nearly five thousand fans
  • made allegations purporting to accuse the distinguished lawyer of publishing propaganda in a dishonest manner and
  • humiliating, embarrassing and disgracing the population. 

Regrets I’ve Had A Few

To the lawyer’s credit, he openly communicated his regret for any anger, resentment and irritation caused by the publication of the tweets through his social media account. He openly communicated to the media that did not approve of the comments made by those who had purported to publish these arguably abhorrent tweets against his fellow barrister’s chambers colleague.

Lessons Learned?

This is not an isolated case for barristers only to concentrate on. External lawyers, in-house and legal professionals need to:

  • be careful about the nature of the content they are releasing on social medial platforms including Twitter, Facebook, TikTok and all the others
  • ensure they are not allowing their respective accounts not to be used by third parties to spout offensive and racist material
  • make sure they are beefing up their internet security, 
  • keep their passwords private 
  • make a conscious effort to take measures such as changing the passwords at regular intervals and 
  • act with honesty and integrity at all times whilst representing the legal profession. 

If they follow this strategy it will mitigate the risk of lawyers finding themselves in hot water with the regulator. 

ASSESSING FIRMS

#Bird&Bird #CharlesRussellSpeechlyLLP #NorthridgeLawLLP #OnsideLawLLP #CentreFieldLLP #Farrer&Co #Level #LewisSilkin #PinsentMasons #SquirePattonBoggs #BrabnersLLP #CliffordChance 

THE ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN USING THE FOLLOWING SOURCES 

[SOURCE 1] Hyde, John – Barrister fined over Twitter abuse of chambers colleague - 12 September 2022 – Law Society Gazette - Barrister fined over Twitter abuse of chambers colleague | News | Law Gazette

[SOURCE 2] Kirk, Tristan – Barrister fined £500 over abusive Tweets aimed at his Chambers colleague – Evening Standard - Barrister fined £500 over abusive Tweets aimed at his Chambers colleague | Evening Standard

[SOURCE 3] Holmes, William – Ex-Dougthy Steet barrister fined for ‘offensive’ tweets aimed at colleague – Legal Cheek – 12 September 2022 - Ex-Doughty Street barrister fined for 'offensive' tweets aimed at colleague - Legal Cheek

[SOURCE 4] Harpin, Lee – Barrister reprimanded and fined over Twitter abuse of Jewish ex-colleague – Jewish News - 12 September 2022 - Barrister reprimanded and fined over Twitter abuse of Jewish ex-colleague | Jewish News

[SOURCE 5] 


 

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