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Experienced barrister at top chambers fined for mocking more junior opponent

By CJ McKinney

Doughty Street’s Althea Sonia Brown ‘improperly undermined, insulted and/or annoyed’ opposing counsel during hearing, disciplinary tribunal finds

An employment law barrister at leading set Doughty Street Chambers has been fined for misconduct after mocking her more junior opponent during a tribunal hearing.

Bar authorities whacked Althea Sonia Brown with a £1,500 fine after finding that she had “improperly undermined” or “humiliated” opposing barrister ‘NC’ during an employment tribunal hearing in September 2019.

The rap sheet included “repeating the words used by NC adopting a noticeably different and disrespectful tone of voice”; “imitating NC by silently mouthing her words when the judge was not looking”; and/or “calling pronouncing NC’s name in an insulting tone of voice”.

The tribunal also recorded “comparing NC’s submissions to the words of the literary character Violet Bott ‘I’m going to scream and scream until I’m sick’, thereby imputing without reasonable basis that NC was behaving in a juvenile and/or petulant manner”.

Further details of the offence include that Brown “mimicked and/or mocked” NC’s instructing solicitor; “repeatedly spoke over NC and the judge”; and/or “repeatedly made reference to her seniority over NC during submissions”.

decision published on the Bar Tribunals & Adjudication Service website says that Brown “failed to observe her duty to the court in the administration of justice”.

It added that her behaviour “improperly undermined, insulted, humiliated and/or annoyed” NC, and/or “was in the circumstances unprofessional”.

The veteran advocate has been ordered to pay almost £6,000 in costs on top of a £1,500 fine. The decision is open to appeal.

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