• Application 11752-2017
  • Admitted 1986
  • Hearing 2 July 2018
  • Reasons 25 July 2018

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be suspended from practice for 18 months from 2 July 2018. 

Contrary to principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011 the respondent had: used her Twitter account, which publicly identified her as a solicitor, to publicly communicate words that were offensive and wholly inappropriate and expressed hostility towards and/or a hatred of Islam; used her Twitter account, which publicly identified her as a solicitor, to publicly communicate words that were offensive and wholly inappropriate and expressed hostility towards and/or a hatred of Catholicism; used her Twitter account, which publicly identified her as a solicitor, to publicly communicate words that were offensive and wholly inappropriate and expressed hostility towards and/or a hatred of Judaism; in response to a photograph of a woman wearing a niqab, used her Twitter account, which publicly identified her as a solicitor, to communicate words that were offensive, wholly inappropriate and/or discriminatory; and in response to a photograph of a drag artist/a person of transgender, used her Twitter account, which publicly identified her as a solicitor, to communicate words that were offensive, wholly inappropriate and/or discriminatory.

While the individual tweets might have been drafted spontaneously in the heat of the moment and without reflection, there had been a series of offending tweets which could not be described as spontaneous. The conduct was persistent and protracted. 

Given the respondent’s comments about employability based upon appearances and her lack of convincing evidence that she would not discriminate when recruiting, there was a need for protection of the public which a period of suspension would provide.

The respondent had removed herself from social media. Accordingly, the risk of her publishing similar tweets in the future was extremely low. Those factors together with her lack of any previous incidents of a similar nature meant that the severest sanctions of indefinite suspension or strike-off were not appropriate. However, the seriousness of the misconduct was such that public confidence in the profession demanded no less than an immediate, fixed-term suspension. 

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £11,000.