Anup Singh Chowdry, senior partner of a London firm of solicitors, was told that he would not be allowed to enter the courts building while he wore a religious dagger, or kirpan.
Although Mr Chowdry insisted that the Lord Chancellor had changed the rules to allow Sikhs to carry the weapon the doormen still refused to let him in.
Angry at his treatment which he says caused him considerable embarrassment he wrote to the Lord Chancellor to ask for an explanation.
Lord Irvine replied saying he was sorry for what had happened and had asked his officials to remind all courts that Sikhs wearing the kirpan, where it was not more than six inches long, should not be refused access. He had issued the instruction in October 1997.