Barrister Barbara Hewson was ordered to be suspended from practice for two years by an independent disciplinary tribunal at a hearing which concluded on 18 December, following charges of professional misconduct brought by the Bar Standards Board (BSB).
The tribunal’s decision comes after Ms Hewson posted a series of tweets between 2017 and 2019, and after she published a blog in 2019, which were:
- seriously offensive, abusive and publicly disparaging towards another barrister, including some which were directed at that barrister’s competence and reputation;
- obscene or seriously offensive in terms of the language used; and
- disparaging of the BSB’s regulatory process thereby undermining public trust and confidence in that process and thus in the profession.
Commenting on the order to suspend, a BSB spokesperson said:
“As the Tribunal found, and Ms Hewson accepted, a barrister’s actions on social media can diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in individual barristers and the profession. The tribunal’s decision to suspend her from practice for two years demonstrates the serious consequences that can arise from such offensive and abusive behaviour online.”
The tribunal’s decision is open to appeal.
Notes to editors
About Barbara Hewson
Barbara Hewson was called to the Bar of England and Wales by Middle Temple in November 1985.
About disciplinary tribunals
The appointment, operation, and decisions (including sentencing) of disciplinary tribunal panels are performed by the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS). BTAS is run independently of the Bar Standards Board, the barristers' regulator. The BSB is responsible for bringing charges of professional misconduct against barristers, which BTAS tribunal panels then adjudicate. The sanctions imposed are a matter for the tribunal having regard to BTAS Sanctions Guidance which is endorsed by the Council of the Inns of Court.
About the Bar Standards Board
Our mission is to regulate barristers and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t
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