Disproportionate representation of BME solicitors in SRA’s work “not caused by racism”

March 13, 2014 in Gus in the Media, Print

The Legal Futures website published the article below on 13/03/2014

The disproportionately high representation of black and minority ethnic (BME) solicitors in the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) disciplinary work is caused by broader socio-economic factors around access to the profession, and not discrimination by the regulator, a major independent report has concluded.

However, equality and race relations expert Professor Gus John said the SRA needs to “look very carefully and urgently at how sole practitioners and small firms are regulated”.

Professor John was appointed in August 2012 to investigate the longstanding issue of disproportionality, which triggered the 2008 Ouseley report. As part of it, he also reviewed six cases where BME solicitors had specifically alleged discrimination – some with the vocal support of the Society of Black Lawyers – and found “no evidence” to support such claims. Read the rest of this entry →

SRA focus too narrowly on regulating in the public interest

March 13, 2014 in Gus in the Media, Print

The Solicitors Journal published the following article on 13/03/2014

The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s narrow focus on regulating in the public interest has had a disproportionately adverse effect on BME firms, the author of a major review into allegations of regulatory discrimination has said.

The Independent Comparative Case Review, by diversity expert Professor Gus John, built on previous research by Lord Ouseley in 2008 and Pearn Kandola in 2010, both of which highlighted concerns that regulatory approach before the introduction of outcomes-focused regulation discriminated against black, ethnic and minority solicitors.

It cleared the SRA of discrimination against BME firms, but Professor John said these practices were nevertheless disproportionately affected by the regulator’s then approach to compliance and enforcement. Read the rest of this entry →

BME solicitors more harshly treated – but SRA cleared of racism

March 13, 2014 in Gus in the Media, Print

The Law Society Gazette published the following article on 13/03/2014

Black and minority ethnic (BME) solicitors are disproportionately represented among those investigated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and receive harsher sanctions when convicted – but the regulator is not institutionally racist, an independent study published today has found.

The 237-page report by Professor Gus John finds evidence of disproportionality at three stages of the regulatory process.

BME solicitors are more likely than whites to be subject to investigation, comprise a higher proportion of those against whom action is taken and are subjected to more severe sanctions.

For breaches of accounting rules, BME solicitors are far more likely to be fined rather than reprimanded. Read the rest of this entry →

Independent Comparative Case Review Published

March 13, 2014 in Gus in the Media, Press Releases

"The Royal Courts of Justice" by Seth Anderson (Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0)

“The Royal Courts of Justice” by Seth Anderson (Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has published the report of the Independent Comparative Case Review (ICCR), conducted by Professor Gus John.

The report presents the results of case reviews and of a statistical analysis of SRA data. The terms of reference of the review were:

“To identify whether there is disparity in the way the SRA applies its policies and procedures in dealing with BME practitioners as compared to others with a view to identifying potential improvements to such practices, policies and procedures to maximise fairness and consistency.”

The 248-page report is the result of one of the most extensive pieces of independent research and analysis into regulatory outcomes for BME solicitors and builds on work previously commissioned by the SRA from Sir Herman Ouseley (2008) and Pearn Kandola (2010). Read the rest of this entry →

Policing by contempt

March 8, 2014 in Blog, Highlights

Credits: "Stephen Lawrence memorial", by Darryl_SE7 (Flickr - CC BY-NC 2.0)

Credits: “Stephen Lawrence memorial”, by Darryl_SE7 (Flickr – CC BY-NC 2.0)

So, finally the home secretary is ordering a judge-led inquiry into the activities of undercover police and their corrupt practices. We in the black community have argued since the 1960s that there is a thin dividing line between the police’s illegal and abusive treatment of black people and the racial violence and murders committed by white racists.

In the case of Stephen Lawrence, we have always claimed that from the very outset the Metropolitan Police were key players in a ‘joint enterprise’ with known hard core criminals to thwart the apprehension of Stephen’s murderers and pervert the course of justice. The report by Mark Ellison QC simply confirms what we already knew or otherwise rightly suspected.

At times like these, politicians no less than police top brass express shock and outrage at revelations of corrupt and illegal practices on the part of the police, thus confirming that the historical complaints communities make about the myriad ways in which police abuse their powers and break the law have been roundly ignored by the state.

The harsh reality is that the experience African and Asian communities have had of policing in Britain since the beginning of the 20th century and especially since post-war immigration is of policing with contempt, never mind all the familiar rhetoric about policing by consent.

So, how have we got here? Read the rest of this entry →