A BARRISTER who was fined for calling a female lawyer a “hysterical woman” has had his appeal dismissed.

Feliks Kwiatkowski was reprimanded after a disciplinary tribunal heard how he said a witness statement drafted by a female lawyer was the work of a “hysterical woman”.

It followed a “discussion between two barristers” in a public waiting area, at Worthing County Court in November 2019.

Mr Kwiatkowski challenged the decision by a Bar Disciplinary Tribunal, in December 2021, and submitted a free-speech defence.

Mr Justice Choudhury, who oversaw the appeal at an online High Court hearing, dismissed Mr Kwiatkowski’s challenge.

The judge said the appeal had raised “interesting and important matters”, but concluded that the tribunal had not “erred”.

He heard that Mr Kwiatkowski had been “prosecuted” by the Bar Standards Board.

The tribunal had concluded that what Mr Kwiatkowski said was “seriously reprehensible”, “sexist” and “discriminatory”.

Members had made a professional misconduct finding, reprimanded Mr Kwiatkowski, and imposed a £500 fine.

A barrister representing Mr Kwiatkowski had argued that the adjective “hysterical” was not a term of abuse.

Marc Beaumont said “political correctness” should not be part of professional regulation.

He said Mr Kwiatkowski had made the comment about the witness statement, drafted by a female legal executive, to a female barrister opposing him in a case.

The barrister had made a complaint, and “reported him”, and the Bar Standards Board had alleged that Mr Kwiatkowski had been “inappropriate and/or offensive”.

Lawyers representing the Bar Standards Board had said Mr Kwiatkowski’s appeal should be dismissed.

Mr Justice Choudhury said tribunal members had been entitled to reach the conclusions they reached.

He said the term Mr Kwiatkowski used represented a “discriminatory gender-based stereotype”, and had been an “offensive epithet”.

“Barristers are not expected to conduct themselves in a discriminatory manner,” he said.

“And not to use language that is clearly discriminatory, in a professional setting or in a public place.”

The judge heard that Mr Kwiatkowski had also told the female barrister he had the conversation with: “I have been practising since before this century.

“When more women joined the profession, the ground shifted.

“You do get stupid and unreasonable men in the profession, but the ground shifted – the number of incidents of overegging the pudding, and just going overboard in a routine situation, multiplied.”

Mr Justice Choudhury said of those comments: “This is an unambiguous slur on a woman’s ability.”

“It is about as close as one can get to saying that a woman is inferior, without stating that in those terms.”