A prominent solicitor judge who ‘liked’ a LinkedIn post referring to an ‘Israeli terrorist’ has been issued with a formal warning after it was accepted he made an inadvertent mistake.

Deputy Senior District Judge Tanweer Ikram accepted that liking the post had raised concerns about his impartiality, but commissioned a technical report to show the posting had been an accident.

Ikram had liked the post by a barrister which read: ‘Free Free Palestine. To the Israeli terrorist both in the United Kingdom, the United States and of course Israel, you can run, you can bomb but you cannot hide – justice will be coming for you.’

His liking of the comment was reported in the Times and other newspapers in February this year. Ikram referred himself to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office which subsequently received more than 60 complaints, including from the Campaign Against Antisemitism. Following an assessment, a total of 43 complaints were referred to a nominated judge for further consideration.

Ikram made representations that he had not intended to like the post, describing it as ‘repulsive’. He provided a report which confirmed that he had no direct social media connection with the poster of the comment: the report also stated it was ‘abundantly simple’ for a LinkedIn user to inadvertently like a post on an iPhone by double-tapping an image.

Social media guidance for judges cautions against any activity which could undermine public confidence in judicial impartiality. It also advises it is not appropriate to refer to a judicial role on any private social media profile.

Ikram accepted that he had not familiarised himself with the latest guidance for judges on social media use.

The JCIO nominated judge found that Ikram had breached the guidance by identifying himself as a judge on LinkedIn. But she also noted that his posts were mostly in connection to his diversity work, and there were no other inappropriate posts or likes. It was accepted that he had triggered the like accidentally.

His actions had resulted in a perception of bias but were not deemed careless or deliberate. In recommending a sanction of formal advice, the nominated judge acknowledged that Ikram had ‘taken full responsibility and shown genuine remorse’. She also acknowledged that he has been at the forefront of work to promote judicial diversity.

Ikram was last year appointed to the Judicial Appointments Commission and has been lauded for his work as a social mobility ambassador. Among the media responses to his liking the LinkedIn post, the Spectator described it as an example of the ‘corruption of the judicial system’.

The lady chief justice, with the lord chancellor’s agreement, issued Ikram with a formal warning for misconduct.

The JCIO finding was written in much greater detail than with previous decisions, in a sign of a move to greater transparency by the investigating body.

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