A lawyer has reportedly been struck off the roll after allegedly making racist and sexist comments.
Complaints were reportedly brought by three women against Victor Stockinger, 61, of Bloomsbury. He is reported to have blamed their concerns on “wokeism”, but a panel of the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal found the evidence against him to be “entirely sincere”, leaving with him legal costs of £41,850.
Among the comments attributed to Mr Stockinger at a work event at the High Court, held by the Solicitors’ Association of Higher Court Advocates in 2019, was a question to a Jewish lawyer on whether she really was Jewish. He also allegedly made inflammatory remarks to a procurement boss of African heritage, as well as numerous sexist comments.
The Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority (SRA) argued that Stockinger’s remarks were racially, ethically, and religiously motivated. The Chair of the Tribunal observed that solicitors must conduct themselves in a way “which reflects everyone’s personal characteristics” and they should “embrace the qualities of equality, diversity and inclusion,” in contrast to Mr Stockinger, who had made “stereotypical assumptions and been patronising.”
Mr Stockinger had claimed that his comments were mere “icebreakers”, but the Tribunal found that “the depth of hurt, humiliation and anger felt, even two years later by the young and diverse legal professionals to whom Mr Stockinger misspoke at that meeting was plain by their evidence to us, which we found entirely sincere. People should not be expected to tolerate this on the basis that in the past people did so.”
Mr Stockinger was also reportedly found guilty of dishonesty – a more serious allegation – by misleading the regulator over a client complaint. He had denied all of the charges.
Mr Stockinger was struck off after 31 years of practice, and reacted to the verdict saying “I’m traumatised”.