While reputation managers (aka PRs) are quick to caution clients of the potential pitfalls of using Twitter and other forms of social media, the recent furore surrounding Patricia Lynch QC is a reminder that professionals would all be well advised to hold their tongues' during confrontations on and offline.
As The Times reported earlier this week, Judge Lynch found herself in "hot water" after using a four-letter rebuke in court when responding to a defendant who had sworn at her. Although the remark led to 10 complaints, Judge Lynch was cleared of misconduct.
In this case, common sense seems to have prevailed as most right-minded people will probably have sympathy for Judge Lynch.
Nevertheless, the incident demonstrates that our actions can follow us everywhere and while swearing may be deemed ok in certain situations such as a building site and, arguably, a City trading floor, in other sectors such as education and the law, it just isn't really ever acceptable.
When a defendant let rip at Judge Patricia Lynch, QC, in court — calling her the c-word — she made headlines after instantly retorting: “Well, you’re a bit of a c*** yourself.” The exchange led to the judge becoming a cause célèbre but also landed her in hot water with the authorities after ten people complained. A report on the incident was referred to the lord chief justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, and to Liz Truss, the lord chancellor and justice secretary. They have now let off Judge Lynch with an effective slap on the wrist after concluding that there was no misconduct nor anything that required disciplinary action. Judge Lynch told investigators from the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) that she deeply regretted the incident and that her remarks were a momentary lapse of judgment.