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‘Anti-woke’ barrister loses employment tribunal claim

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In Mr J Holbrook v Cornerstone Chambers an employment tribunal has thrown out a claim by an “anti-woke” barrister who was expelled from his chambers after tweeting about a “stroppy teenager of colour”.

Jon Holbrook, formerly of Cornerstone Chambers, made the comment in relation to a news story about a young woman who took her school to court for racial discrimination over a uniform policy that banned afro hairstyles.

Leslie Thomas QC of Garden Court Chambers wrote of his former colleague, “Jon, I can’t believe you sent this tweet, what happened to you? I was once proud to have you as a colleague at Garden Court fighting for the rights of others versus rogue landlords in our younger days. This tweet is just wrong. [It] makes you unrecognisable to me now which [is] why I call it out.”

Mr Holbrook submitted to the tribunal that he was discriminated against on the basis of his “social conservative” beliefs and in particular his status as a “critic of identity politics” who “believes in the importance of nation, community and family”.

He alleged that he was expelled by his chambers “to satiate the appetites of those who wanted revenge for [his] expression of non-woke beliefs”.

However, the tribunal ruled, after a preliminary hearing, that Mr Holbrook’s claim was brought out of time and it was not just and equitable to extend time for it.

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