UK: Judge Suing Ministry of Justice for Race Discrimination

The lord chief justice has intervened on a recent discrimination case of a judge. Peter Herbert, a human rights barrister and judge in employment and immigration tribunals, is suing the Ministry of Justice for racial discrimination following a recommendation that he be given a written warning over remarks he made.



The complaint, recommended by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO), arose following Herbert’s speech at a rally in Stephney, east London, last April. During his remarks, Herbert commented negatively about the decision to bar the former mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, from holding public office for five years. He added that racism in parts of the judiciary exists today, saying: “Racism is alive and well and living in Tower Hamlets, in Westminster and, yes, sometimes in the judiciary.”



Whether or not the written warning will be issued now rests with the justice secretary, Michael Gove, and the lord chief justice, Lord Thomas, who detailed his concerns that all points have not been fully considered. Thomas added that a disciplinary panel should be set up to further investigate.



Herbert calls the suggested written warning discriminatory on racial grounds, amounts to victimization, and fails to consider the protection offered by the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act. Recently, Herbert also called for more training for judges on race issues.



A spokesperson for the JCIO confirmed that Herbert’s conduct is still under investigation and findings against any judicial office holder by the lord chancellor and the lord chief justice will be published on its website.

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