An employment judge has agreed to postpone a hearing between a barrister and his former chambers over multiple claims of racial harassment and victimisation.
Daniel Matovu, who describes himself as a black African and Ugandan citizen who has lived in the UK since the age of six, alleges 2 Temple Gardens Chambers subjected him to victimisation and harassment relating to race.
The London chambers argues that Matovu was lawfully voted out by members for dishonestly and in bad faith raising and pursuing a complaint of race discrimination against the set’s senior clerk; dishonestly repeating the allegation and failing to cooperate with an investigation.
Matovu brought claims against the same respondents last year, which failed in the tribunal. The judgment – which was handed down by employment Judge A M Snelson in February – lamented the ‘wreckage of this bitter and destructive litigation’ and urged the parties not to embark on another claim.
The barrister is now pursuing appeals in the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
In relation to the present claim, employment Judge Timothy Clive Adkin agreed to postpone proceedings but refused Matovu’s application to stay proceedings pending the outcome of all of his appeals.
Adkin J said: ‘I do not consider that it is in the interests of justice for this matter to have an indefinite stay, which taking a realistic view might go into 2022. Memories fade. The longer time that elapses between material events and witnesses being asked questions about those events, the more difficult it is for them to give accurate or clear recollections of events.’
He added: ‘The present situation is a choice between on the one hand a substantial and indeterminate delay if I grant a stay in the terms suggested by the claimant and on the other the risk that the decision of a tribunal following a hearing in November might have to be overturned as a knock on effect of the Snelson decision being overturned. In short the trade off is between delay on the one hand and possible expense and waste of the parties and tribunal’s time on the other.’
The judge said the basis on which any ground of appeal is proceeding and the date of the appeal hearing ought to be clear by February 2021.