Race-claim barrister in dismissal appeal

The barrister who lost an Employment Tribunal racial discrimination case against three members of her former set and its senior clerk has launched an appeal.

Aisha Bijlani
Aisha Bijlani

Aisha Bijlani, whose claim that a culture of ­discrimination in the ­clerking room at 4 New Square cost her as much as £7m in lost earnings ­during her 16 years with the set, submitted a notice to appeal to the Employment Appeal ­Tribunal (EAT) last week.

The original tribunal ­dismissed allegations made against former head of chambers Roger Stewart QC, as well as Justin ­Fenwick QC, John Powell QC and senior clerk Lizzie Wiseman. These included suggestions that clerks failed to collect fees on Bijlani’s behalf and that management did not ­investigate complaints made by the claimant of a racist ­culture in chambers.

Bijlani’s appeal centres on the claim that the ­tribunal “failed to apply the correct legal test for ­harassment” and did not consider that “conduct and attitudes” in the clerks’ room at 4 New Square ­”created a hostile working environment”.

The appeal further ­challenges the tribunal’s conclusion that the set did not fail “to act more ­robustly on grounds of race” with regard to the attitudes of its clerks.
Bijlani has again ­instructed discrimination expert Althea Brown of Doughty Street Chambers.

The EAT has six weeks to decide whether the appeal will be heard in court.

4 New Square declined to comment.