Lawyer fined after using term ‘hysterical woman’ in Worthing court appeals Brighton News

A LAWYER who was reprimanded for calling a lawyer a “hysterical woman” appealed on the grounds of freedom of expression.

Feliks Kwiatkowski challenged a decision by a Bar Disciplinary Tribunal, in December 2021, at an online High Court hearing on Tuesday.

The “charge” arose out of a “discussion between two lawyers”, in a public waiting room, at Worthing County Court in November 2019.

Mr. Kwiatkowski had made the comment on the witness statement, written by a female legal executive, to a lawyer who opposed him in a case.

The lawyer had filed a complaint and “reported” him, and the Bar Standards Council had alleged that Mr Kwiatkowski had been “inappropriate and/or offensive”.

He said the findings against him violated his human right to free speech.

A lawyer representing Mr Kwiatkowski told Judge Choudhury that the adjective “hysterical” was not an abusive term.

Marc Beaumont said “political correctness” should not be part of professional regulation.

London-based Judge Choudhury heard that Mr Kwiatkowski had been “prosecuted” by the Bar Standards Board.

The court had found professional misconduct, reprimanded Mr Kwiatkowski and imposed a £500 fine.

“This appeal might appear to be about a matter of little importance,” Mr. Beaumont said, in written argument.

“A lawyer has been fined and reprimanded for offending and upsetting a female lawyer.

“He may seem to make a big deal out of the result. He is not.

“He raises an important question of principle before the court.”

Mr. Beaumont added: “The appeal comes at a time when the rule of law in a democratic European country is threatened by military aggression and oppression.

“Free speech values ​​may well perish in Ukraine.

“Protests in Russia are suppressed by force.

“Now is precisely not the time for the courts of this country to settle for free speech.”

He continued: “…it does no honor to the Bar Standards Board to have sought to sue a lawyer for saying ‘hysterical woman’.

“This complaint was on its face insignificant and pursuing the matter was laughable.

“The adjective ‘hysterical’ is not an insulting term; it could be and is used about men…”

Mr Beaumont told the judge: ‘Political correctness should not be part of professional regulation.’

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This notice was published: 2022-06-21 18:47:00

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