Jon Holbrook’s remark stays up regardless of his chambers twice requesting it’s deleted

A senior barrister who tweeted that The Equality Act “undermines college self-discipline by empowering the stroppy teenager of color” has been condemned by the authorized group, together with his personal chambers, over the weekend.

Cornerstone Barristers‘ Jon Holbrook made the tweet from his private Twitter account earlier this month, and has not deleted it on the time of publication, regardless of his chambers asking him to take action on two events.

Holbrook advised Authorized Cheek right now that his political opinions are “by no means expressed as a member of Cornerstone Barristers, as a result of they don’t have anything to do with my work as a member”, and that, “free speech should prevail over cancel tradition”.

Holbrook posted the remark (embedded beneath) on 17 January in response to a tweet from the Equality and Human Rights Fee, which featured a video a few pupil who was despatched house from college as a result of her afro type hair breached its uniform coverage. The Fee subsequently received concerned and the college agreed to finish its “discriminatory” coverage. “The Equality Act 2010 is evident; nobody ought to face discrimination due to their race,” the caption alongside the video learn.

Holbrook’s response surfaced on Friday when a number of authorized figures got here throughout the tweet and referred to as him out on its content material.

Leslie Thomas QC of Backyard Court docket Chambers wrote of his former colleague, “Jon, I can’t imagine you despatched this tweet, what occurred to you? I used to be as soon as proud to have you ever as a colleague at Backyard Court docket combating for the rights of others versus rogue landlords in our youthful days. This tweet is simply mistaken. [It] makes you unrecognisable to me now which [is] why I name it out.”

In a statement issued on Saturday, Cornerstone Barristers stated it turned conscious of the tweet late on Friday. “We wish to make it very clear that Cornerstone Barristers repudiates the contents of the tweet and all that it insinuates,” the assertion learn.

Now, joint heads of chambers, Philip Coppel QC and Tom Cosgrove QC, stated they “reiterate that repudiation”.

In a joint assertion, Coppel and Cosgrove advised Authorized Cheek, “Mr Holbrook was requested each on Friday, 22 January and once more on Saturday, 23 January to delete the tweet instantly and completely. Mr Holbrook is refusing to take action. The Board of Cornerstone Barristers is coping with the matter.”

Their assertion continued:

“To be clear: this matter is being taken very severely. The contents of this tweet are opposite to the views of Cornerstone Barristers. We unequivocally condemn discrimination in all of its types and are happy with our document as a various chambers which promotes social mobility on the bar.”

The 2021 Legal Cheek Chambers Most List

Different barristers weighed in over the weekend, with some saying that they had reported the tweet to the Bar Requirements Board (BSB).

David Turner QC of 4 New Square described it as “essentially the most shameful tweet” he had ever seen from a barrister, whereas Alexandra Wilson of 5 St Andrew’s hill stated, “I’m embarrassed to be in the identical career as somebody like this”.

Wilson, a vocal advocate for variety on the bar, continued: “The reality is, he must be embarrassed. This tweet has remained up for days and nonetheless hasn’t been deleted. Stroppy? For desirous to go to high school together with her pure hair? It’s actually irritating that so many people try to enhance public notion of our career and folks like this utterly undermine that.”

In the meantime, Becky Agates of Foregate Chambers wrote: “I’ve sat right here staring on the display screen… unable to put in writing… you’re a member of my career… a career I like and respect… but you are feeling protected and comfy tweeting one thing like this… what’s mistaken with you (other than the plain)… do the proper factor, take it down.”

Holbrook, who has written articles for political journal Spiked, stated: “Liberal democracies are premised on free speech and we curtail it at our peril. Via my articles and tweets I’ve for a few years criticised legal guidelines that allow particular person rights to trump collective pursuits. Many provisions of the Equality Act do that, which is why I criticise them in my political capability.”

Holbrook continued:

“Some authorized activists of the left would like to silence their opponents. They’re unable to have interaction in reasoned argument they usually search a authorized career of practitioners who conform to their very own woke opinions.

“My political opinions are by no means expressed as a member of Cornerstone Barristers, as a result of they don’t have anything to do with my work as a member. My day job is anxious with how the regulation is, my political curiosity is anxious with the way it must be. A lot of my critics appear unable to understand this distinction. Others are merely motivated by a loathing for conservative and populist opinions. Free speech should prevail over cancel tradition.”

The barrister has gone on to write an article for The Conservative Woman blog after his tweet “provoked a whole lot of curiosity”. Holbrook stated: “On this article I clarify how, as an alternative of difficult racism, equality regulation promotes racial privilege. That is clear from profitable authorized challenges to high school uniform insurance policies introduced by folks of color.”

Holbrook was referred to as to the bar in 1991, and his observe covers public regulation, housing and property. He spent 12 years at Backyard Court docket earlier than becoming a member of Hardwicke for 2 years, finally becoming a member of Cornerstone in 2006.

He reported on Saturday that Twitter had rejected a grievance concerning the tweet. “Twitter strikes a blow without spending a dime speech. (I didn’t assume I’d be making that time any time quickly),” he wrote.

The BSB has been approached for remark.

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter