Judge calls for investigation into colleagues over racism

Judge calls for investigation into colleagues over racism

PICTURED: Peter Herbert

PART TIME crown court and immigration judge and chair of the Society of Black Lawyers, Peter Herbert is set to sue the Ministry of Justice for race discrimination after it recommended that a formal warning be issued against him for a speech he gave in 2015.

The initial complaint was made after Herbert commented negatively about the decision to bar the former mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, from holding public office for five years and added that racism remained present in parts of the judiciary.

In the speech, he said: “Racism is alive and well and living in Tower Hamlets, in Westminster and, yes, sometimes in the judiciary.”

Following on from this, a complaint was made to the Judicial Conduct Investigation Office. The responsibility fell unto Lord Justice Underhill, who was instructed to look into the matter and consider whether Herbert’s remarks had breached guidelines.

He found that Herbert should be issued with a written warning because he was straying into politics and suggesting that the Rahman judgment was tainted by racism.

Herbert has since been issued with a letter of apology which said that the complaint against him was not sufficiently serious for a JCIO caseworker to have requested that a senior judge ask him to refrain from sitting as a judge.

The letter states: “I would, therefore, like to apologise for this mistake and for the distress it caused you.”

Herbert’s race discrimination case goes to the employment tribunal on 2 October.

Mr Herbert is asking that his case be transferred to the employment tribunal in Scotland, arguing that he doesn’t believe that he will receive a fair hearing in London.

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