More than half of legal professionals have seen one or more judge act in a racially biased way, according to the findings of an academic report that concludes that the justice system is institutionally racist.
The Racial Bias and the Bench report (copy below), unveiled last night, was published by the University of Manchester in response to the five-year Judicial Diversity and Inclusion Strategy published in November 2020.
Nearly all of the 373 legal professionals surveyed for the report said racial bias played some role in the processes or outcomes of the justice system.
Over half (56%) said they had witnessed at least one judge acting in a racially biased way towards a defendant; 52% said they had witnessed one or more judges acting in a racially biased way in their judicial rulings, summing up, sentencing, bail, comments and/or directions.
Respondents said racial discrimination by judges was most frequently directed towards Asian and Black people. Black lawyers, defendants and witnesses were the most common targets of judicial discrimination. 'Subtle' forms of judicial bias were also highlighted.
One respondent said: ‘Subtle differences in judicial intervention/questions when speaking to those of different ethnic backgrounds. No smiles, as there had been to the white witnesses. Almost a scowl when speaking to others.’
Another respondent said: ‘Every single case I have had with a Black parent they have been described as “aggressive”. EVERY case (I have kept a tab),’ one respondent said.
The report was unveiled at an online event yesterday evening.
Garden Court Chambers’ Keir Monteith KC, one of the report’s seven authors, told the event that the Judicial Diversity and Inclusion Strategy was designed to increase diversity. However, the strategy does not mention the words 'racial bias' and 'racism'. 'Race' appears once in a footnote.
Monteith said the survey yielded unique data, with 119 legal professionals taking the time out to write down what they had witnessed and experienced in and out of the courtroom.
‘What our report finds amounts to evidence of institutional racism in the justice system, presided over by judges. This has worrying consequences for the rule of law.’
Monteith, who also sits as a recorder, added: ‘Racism in an institution has to be talked about openly and honestly – not erased, not ignored, not rewritten as if there is no problem. I have been in the system for almost three decades. With great sadness I read the results of our survey. It’s upsetting. It needs to change.’
The report recommends that the lord chief justice and leadership judges publicly acknowledge and recognise that the justice system is institutionally racist so that steps for real progress can be taken, such as redrawing the founding objectives of the Judicial Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.
Other recommendations include compulsory racial bias and anti-racist training for all judges, overhauling the judicial appointments process, and ensuring all hearings are recorded and easily accessible.
In a statement, the lord chief justice said: 'The Judicial Executive Board and I have been working hard to deal with problems of the sort that have been identified, where they exist. The Diversity and Inclusion Strategy is but part of that work. The judiciary will look carefully at this report and take it into account when considering how to focus our efforts in the future. Any incidents of racism, harassment, bullying or discrimination are unacceptable and will be dealt with in accordance with the relevant grievance or conduct procedure.'
By Monidipa Fouzder
The Law Society Gazette
19 October 2022
Original Article HERE
The Racial Bias and the Bench report:
Comment from former Lincoln's Inn Solicitor:
The judiciary in general are, to a material extent, racist and certainly Islamophobic. In 2011 Mrs Justice Sharp at the Royal Courts of Justice refused, when asked, to condemn a litigant (Claimant) being told to 'Go fuck Allah, the Camel' and told 'Going to fuck your mother. She like white man' and expressly told that 'the Prophet Muhammad was a confused paedophile' and more of a similar nature. On appeal in 2020, Lord Justice Popplewell similarly refused to condemn those horrific insults addressed to the Appellant. The Office for the Investigation of Judicial Complaints ruled in both cases that Sharp J and Popplewell LJ had a right "not to comment on aspects of the evidence" under their unimpeachable 'case management' prerogative. In 2021 Mr Justice Saini did condemn those vile words in a different case involving the same Claimant, but judge Pushpinder Saini is a Sikh and wears a turban and so was of a more sympathetic nature than his 'white' colleagues on the bench.
Lord Pickles was so incensed at the behaviour of Mrs Justice Sharp that, as the M.P for the above-mentioned litigant, he wrote to the Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling in 2014 asking for a meeting to discuss the need for a change in the judicial conduct rules to make it an offence for a judge not to condemn such racist Islamophobic filth. Meeting refused by Chris Grayling. Now, from 2019 to 2022 it is the staff at the Office of the Lord Chief Justice (Sir Ian Burnett) - Michele Souris, Alice Rose and Ben Yallop - who actively stop all correspondence on this judicial iniquity reaching the Lord Chief Justice himself - Sir Ian Burnett. A cover up. The Essex Police and the Met Police are now involved.
Other racist, Islamophobic judges, of a more subtle bent are Mr Justice Jay, Mr Justice Sweeting, Mrs Justice May and Lord Justice Bean. One judge who is fair beyond the call of duty is Deputy High Court judge Hugh Mercer Q.C.
However, for a case to get to the High Court it usually needs two sets of law firms and two sets of barristers, unless one of the litigants is acting in person. There are barristers and Solicitors who act for and defend the racists/Islamophobes. The law firms who determinedly defend such wrongdoers include Doyle Clayton acting for the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and Capsticks, acting for the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Kate Kapp is the bigot at Doyle Clayton. Mark Rogers and Hannah Pilkington are the bigots at Capsticks. The bigot barristers are Andrew Maguire, David Reade K.C and Benjamin Tankel - acting for clients with deep pockets, using other people's money. All insincere Pharisees and Uriah Heeps. To hell with all of them.
Judges presiding over 'institutionally racist' justice system - report