UK Lawyers for Israel has described the unprecedented disbarring of a barrister, for his anti-Semitic and racist comments on social media as “a significant victory” – and warned that more cases may be in the pipeline.
Barrister Ian Millard, who tweets under his own name, was thrown out of the profession last week after an independent disciplinary tribunal found he had made “seriously offensive” comments.
They include Nazi propaganda images, attacks on Jews, Muslims and ethnic minorities, and repeated racist tweets.
Sara Jagger, the Bar Standard’s Board’s Director of Professional Conduct, said: “The use of such offensive language is incompatible with the standards expected of barristers. The tribunal rightly found that such behaviour diminishes the trust and confidence [which] the public places in the profession — and the decision to disbar Mr Millard reflects this”.
Millard, who was called to the Bar in 1991, has regularly tweeted about Jews. The disciplinary tribunal was shown one tweet relating to the dismissal of a libel appeal by Nat Rothschild against the Daily Mail.
Millard wrote: “Reading this account of a Rothschilds jew, the jew Mandelson and others, one can surely only say “Hitler was right”.
He frequently posted messages such as: “There will never be a speaker such as Adolf Hitler, not in our lifetimes, not ever”, and a picture of Hitler along with the words “Meine Ehre heisst Treue” – “My honour is loyalty”, the motto of the SS.
He attacked the American historian Deborah Lipstadt, describing her as a“notorious Jew-Zionist”, but insisted, in his defence to the tribunal, that calling people Jews was not in itself offensive and that his tweets did not relate to his work as a barrister.
Jonathan Goldberg, QC, who brought the original complaint against Millard on behalf of UK Lawyers for Israel, where he is a director, told the Jewish News: “We regard this as a significant victory for two reasons. First, it has stripped this particular vile prating Nazi of his cloak of professional respectability as a barrister.
“Secondly, it has opened our eyes to a possible new route of bringing justice to other antisemites who are currently members of otherwise honourable professions. Many professional bodies now apply an equality and diversity code, and will regard racism as dishonourable conduct which brings the profession into disrepute. It is interesting for us to discover that Baroness Jenny Tonge is a registered medical practitioner and Councillor David Ward, the former MP, is a member of the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy.”
Mr Goldberg has now complained about Millard to the New York Bar where he is currently a member. He said: “I doubt New York will now prove more tolerant of him than London”. Speaking immediately after the tribunal’s ruling, Mr Goldberg said: “A man who spews out such Nazi propaganda is not fit to call himself a barrister, so I feel satisfied. As a fine judge said recently; if we can’t all learn to get along there is no hope for any of us.”
As for the former barrister, he reacted to the disbarring by tweeting a picture of a giant hand with a star of David holding the strings to a row of newspapers being read by people, along with the caption “Daily Mail carries one-sided piece about me. Unsurprising. Sensationalist newspapers are not in business to inform people properly.”