Liverpool solicitor Jenny Lindsay has accused the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) of condoning racism by failing to take action against her old firm, Ironsides Ray & Viles.
Lindsay won an industrial tribunal case against Leicestershire firm Ironsides Ray in 1994, when it refused her funding to help her study for her Law Society finals, while five white trainees received assistance. She was dismissed when she failed the exam, while white trainees who failed were kept on.
An OSS investigation last year found Ironsides Ray had brought the profession into disrepute, but chose not to punish the firm because discrimination was unintentional. The Legal Ombudsman refused to intervene, saying an investigation "does not accord" with its "primary purpose".
Lindsay says the OSS refusal to punish the offending firm shows that the legal authorities are still trivialising racial discrimination."The simple conclusion is institutional racism. The legal profession's attitude remains rigid and uncompromising, because the bottom line is to protect lawyers who discriminate."
OSS Director Peter Ross refused to tell The Lawyer how the body would respond to Lindsay's request or to comment on any of the wider issues it raised.