Exclusive: more than half of legal professionals in survey said they saw a judge acting in a racially biased way

Photograph: Martin Barraud/Getty Images

The study found discrimination was directed towards black lawyers, witnesses and defendants.

The judiciary in England and Wales is “institutionally racist”, with more than half of legal professionals surveyed claiming to have witnessed a judge acting in a racially biased way, according to a report.

The study by the University of Manchester and barrister Keir Monteith KC found judicial discrimination to be directed particularly towards black court users – from lawyers to witnesses to defendants.

A survey of 373 legal professionals found that 56% stated they had witnessed at least one judge acting in a racially biased way towards a defendant, while 52% had witnessed discrimination in judicial decision-making.

Examples ranged from hostility towards black defendants, including the use of the term “you people”, to the imposition of harsher sentences, as previously highlighted by the Lammy report.

The study also criticises the current five-year strategy to boost judicial diversity for failing to mention racial bias or racism.

Prof Leslie Thomas KC, who wrote the report’s foreword, said: “Judges need to sit up and listen, because it is a myth that Lady Justice is blind to colour. Our judiciary as an institution is just as racist as our police forces, our education system and our health service – this is something that cannot be ignored for any longer.”

Many legal professionals have witnessed judges acting in a racially biased way when dealing with people in the court system

Since 2020, there has been only one published Judicial Conduct Investigations Office decision in which racism was found against a judge (a magistrate), the report says. It also notes that the Judicial Executive Board has declined to publish a report it commissioned into bullying and racism.

Responses to the survey indicated that racial discrimination by judges was most frequently directed towards Asian and black people, with the latter by far the most affected, and the most frequently mentioned sub-group was young black male defendants.

The findings were not limited to the criminal justice system, with one respondent saying that every black parent they represented was described as “aggressive”.

Prof Eithne Quinn, the report’s academic lead author, said the findings showed “judges often play a role in fuelling and normalising the terrible disparities in our legal system”.

The overwhelming majority (95%) of respondents said that racial bias played some role in the processes and/or outcomes of the justice system.

The report, published on Tuesday, recommends that the lord chief justice should publicly acknowledge the justice system is institutionally racist, and should organise compulsory, ongoing racial bias and anti-racist training for all judges and and overhaul the process of judicial appointments.

Just 1% of the judiciary are black, none of whom sit in the court of appeal, and there has never been a supreme court justice of colour.

Monteith said: “Racism in the justice system has to be acknowledged and fought by those at the highest level, but at the moment there is complete and utter silence – and as a consequence, there is no action to combat racial bias. It is impossible to have diversity and inclusion if the system itself unfairly discriminates.”

The legal professionals (214 of them white) were surveyed in May through distribution of a questionnaire to legal organisations and individuals. The survey was also hosted on a website and highlighted on social media.

Lord Burnett of Maldon, the lord chief justice, said he had been “working hard to deal with problems of the sort that have been identified, where they exist”. He added: “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.”

Haroon Siddique
Legal affairs correspondent
18 October 2022

Original Article HERE

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.

Exclusive: more than half of legal professionals in survey said they saw a judge acting in a racially biased way