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Faculty of Advocates urged to act against ‘misogynistic attitudes”

A finding of “unsatisfactory professional conduct” has been made against Brian McConnachie QC (Andrew Milligan/PA)
A finding of “unsatisfactory professional conduct” has been made against Brian McConnachie QC (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The body which represents Scotland’s top lawyers has been challenged to take “urgent action” to address the “misogynistic attitudes which clearly exist within the profession”.

Campaigners at Rape Crisis Scotland made the demand after it was reported that Brian McConnachie QC had commented about the organisation’s chief executive, Sandy Brindley, in a text message to another QC.

Rape Crisis Scotland insisted the leading lawyer’s “sexist and demeaning” comments were “unacceptable”.

It comes as the Faculty of Advocates confirmed a finding of “unsatisfactory professional conduct” had been made against Mr McConnachie.

A spokesperson said: “As the process is ongoing it would not be appropriate for Faculty to comment on this matter, beyond confirming it is correct to say that a finding of unsatisfactory professional conduct had been determined regarding Brian McConnachie QC.”

A spokesperson for Rape Crisis Scotland said: “This situation and the unacceptable comments directed towards our chief executive expose a culture of misogyny amongst some members of the Faculty of Advocates and lay bare an environment where entitled, arrogant attitudes and behaviours are clearly present.

“We have engaged in good faith with members of the Faculty to try to find common ground to improve the protections and rights of complainers of sexual crimes.

“For senior members of the Faculty to discuss our staff in such a sexist and demeaning way is deplorable.”

The spokesperson continued: “Sexist attitudes like these should have no place within the legal profession.

“If senior QCs are comfortable conversing about someone they have held a professional external relationship with, then this raises serious concerns about how they will behave towards other women they encounter, including women entering the profession, or women that they cross-examine in sexual offence cases.

“We are calling on the Faculty and other legal professional bodies on Scotland to commit to taking urgent action to address the misogynistic attitudes which clearly exist within the profession.”

Mr McConnachie has been contacted for comment.

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