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Snr. UK judge given formal warning for ‘rude and hostile’ behaviour

Snr. UK judge given formal warning for ‘rude and hostile’ behaviour

Lord Justice Clive Lewis, whose manner amounted to ‘judicial bullying’ in court, has apologised for behaviour.

One of the most senior judges in England and Wales has received a formal warning for misconduct after an investigation found he had behaved in “a rude and hostile way” amounting to “judicial bullying” in court.

Lord Justice Clive Lewis, one of the two judges who ruled in the high court that the home secretary had acted lawfully in her decision to send asylum seekers to Rwanda – a decision later overturned in the court of appeal by a majority of two to one, and due to be further considered by the supreme court in October – has apologised for his behaviour.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) investigated Lewis’s conduct after a complaint was made about him in a case.

A spokesperson said: “The lord chief justice, with the lord chancellor’s agreement, has issued Lord Justice Clive Lewis with a formal warning for misconduct. The Guide to Judicial Conduct reminds office-holders to be courteous, tolerant and respect the dignity of all. They should also ensure that their conduct maintains and enhances public confidence in the judiciary.”

A senior judge appointed by the lord chief justice carried out the investigation and found that Lewis behaved in a rude and hostile manner towards counsel in a hearing. While not all the complaint allegations were made out, the judge who investigated the complaint found Lewis had “intervened excessively in counsel’s submissions, throughout the hearing, in a manner which became increasingly harsh and rude and to the extent that it constituted judicial bullying”.

According to the statement issued by the JCIO, Lewis accepted he had allowed his frustrations at the hearing to show and reflected that he should have handled matters differently. He offered his “sincere apologies”.

The lord chief justice and lord chancellor agreed with the recommendations of the judge who investigated the case and decided to issue Lewis with a formal warning. They took into consideration his apology and his commitment to learn from the experience and to adjust his behaviour in future.

Lewis was called to the bar in 1987 and began practice in 1992 principally in the field of judicial review and public law. He was appointed a lord justice of appeal in October 2020.

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