Male barrister fined for smacking female colleague on backside

Barrister: Caused physical pain

A male barrister who told a junior female colleague that “I really wanted to smack your arse” – and then did so – has been reprimanded and fined £6,000 by a Bar disciplinary tribunal.

Dominic Woolard, called in 2008, was found to have undermined his integrity and diminished public trust in the profession through his conduct.

According to the tribunal’s decision notice, on 21 December 2018, Mr Woolard “held A, over whom he was in a position of professional seniority, by or around the neck, an intimate part of the body as between professional colleagues, while saying to her ‘I really wanted to smack your arse’, or words to that effect, and the touching was intentional, the touching was sexual, A did not consent to the touching, and Dominic Woolard did not reasonably believe that A consented to the touching”.

The barrister then slapped A on the bottom, causing her physical pain, and pulled her onto his lap.

His actions, the tribunal found, were “unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which had the purpose or effect of violating A’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or otherwise offensive environment for A”.

The full decision of the tribunal has not yet been published and will explain the circumstances around what happened, as well as the reasoning for the sanction, which on its face is likely to be seen as lenient given the nature of the misconduct.

By the standards of the Bar tribunal, £6,000 is a hefty fine. Mr Woolard was also ordered to pay costs of £3,600, again a large amount in comparison to other cases.

    Readers Comments

  • Nic Houslip says:

    This news is a very sad comment on the state of our society, when a member of the profession we trust to handle our legal affairs is patently unable to control this feelings or emotions. How can we expect lesser privileged members of that society to abide by the norms all of us should live by.

  • michael levy says:

    It is a pity that the young lady was not quick-witted enough to respond by replying that she would really like to kick him in the balls and then did so after the slap

Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Keeping the conversation going beyond Pride Month

As I reflect on all the celebrations of Pride Month 2024, I ask myself why there remains hesitancy amongst LGBTQ+ staff members about when it comes to being open about their identity in the workplace.

Third-party managed accounts: Your key questions answered

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has given strong indications that it is headed towards greater restrictions on law firms when it comes to handling client money.

Understanding vicarious trauma in the legal workplace

Vicarious trauma can happen to anyone who works with clients who have experienced trauma such as domestic or other violence, child abuse, sexual assault, torture or being a refugee.

Loading animation