Lawyers' chief sues over bid to unseat her

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Kamlesh Bahl, the vice-president of the Law Society, yesterday issued proceedings alleging race and sex discrimination in a step designed to coincide with moves beginning today to suspend her from her post. Ms Bahl's legal action is based on advice from Cherie Booth QC.

Last week, a tribunal chaired by a former law lord upheld five complaints of bullying against Ms Bahl. But she claims that the Law Society's inquiry into her behaviour was based on her "ethnicity and gender". The Law Society is expected to begin action today to suspend her from her post. Its council requires only 25 of its 75-strong membership to activate proceedings which automatically trigger an emergency meeting of the Law Society in 32 days.

If she is suspended, Ms Bahl, a former head of the Equal Opportunities Commission, could then force a further postal ballot of the profession with the support of just 20 solicitors attending the meeting. Failing that, she still has 10 days to gather 100 signatures supporting her call for a postal ballot.

Yesterday, Ms Bahl won the backing of Ms Booth who advised her that her human rights as well as her employment rights have been breached. Her case will be heard by an employment tribunal later in the year.

Lord Griffiths' 40-page report found Ms Bahl used "bullying tactics" against staff members.