The Kamlesh Bahl Affair

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The Institute of Contemporary Studies was founded on the principle best expressed in a quote from Edmund Burke:

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing".

The Myth.

Miss Bahl was found by an independent enquiry (Griffith) to be a bully. Both that enquiry and the Employment Tribunal found her to be a liar. The Tribunal also found her to be a perjurer. Despite that she and her supporters have been systematically rewriting history over the last eighteen months to portray herself as the poor downtrodden victim.

The Reality.

These are the facts.
Quotes from the Tribunal or other published documents are in italics.

Fact 1.

Miss Bahl is a bully and has been for many years.

Here is a letter published in the Guardian about her behaviour when she was head of the EOC.


Friday March 17, 2000
The Guardian

I was a press officer at the Equal Opportunities Commission when Kamlesh Bahl became chair under the first ever open recruitment process (Law Society accused of sex and race bias, March 15). Staff there were excited about the arrival of a young black woman who had broken the mould of government appointments from the "great and the good".

Imagine our horror when our heroine turned out to be a power-mad bully. One of her first victims was Valerie Amos, the best ever chief executive of the EOC and a black woman. If Kamlesh Bahl plays the race card in her dispute with the Law Society it will be an insult to those thousands of black people who really do face discrimination at work.

Fiona Fox

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2001

And in the Guardian January of 11th 1995, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown wrote:

"Now 18 months later (after Miss Bahl's appointment) the EOC is in Turmoil, with deteriorating staff morale………No one can explain why the chief executive, vice chairwoman and others left the EOC weeks after Bahl arrived. Union representatives who were recently pouring out their pain at treatment by their boss seem suddenly petrified into discretion Support for Bahl is falling away, even from her own community…..many black and Asian feminists feel caught up in a web of mixed feelings not unlike those experience by African Americans when they had to confront the failings of judge Clarence"

Miss Brown paid dearly for that. Five years later, on 2nd April 2000 she wrote another article:

"There is a file in my cabinet which I have been unable to open for five years. It contains a newspaper article I once wrote and a pile of letters. This article nearly cost me my career, shook up my confidence and made me understand how the British Establishment can go into action to destroy someone. Even as I read its fast- fading contents this morning, I felt my stomach tightening again. I recalled the months of terror when libel action threatened and I knew that newspapers didn't protect freelancers as well as they did their own. Very, very powerful people were gunning for me.

The article was a profile of Kamlesh Bahl, who has recently resigned as vice-president of the Law Society following the findings of an independent inquiry, led by Lord Griffiths, which found her guilty of bullying staff. Ms Bahl is challenging the findings and has accused the Law Society of racial and sexual discrimination.
My article was written when she was the chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission….. The day the article was printed all hell broke loose….The Tory wives were out first with their indignation blazing. I had written a racist article by quoting people who expressed racist views. Kafka must have stood up in his grave at this one. This was "smutty" journalism. They were followed by Asian leaders, famous solicitors and QCs.

This is why I find it unconvincing when Ms Bahl today alleges that what is happening to her is a result of racism and sexism. I am, like her, a middle-class Asian woman. My race or gender did not protect me from the undeserved onslaught on my reputation, which she did not discourage. Do bad black and Asian leaders use the race card cynically when it suits them? And is this one reason why so many other obviously talented people from this community are kept down and out? If establishments see that, even where there is real evidence of misconduct or ineptitude, black and Asian people or women have no qualms about raising the shrill cry of racism or sexism, they may be even less likely than they are now of allowing in these excluded constituencies. It is contemptible that people should seek to use racism - which is all too real in the lives of so many people - as a way of protecting their own failings.

This dangerous "black wash" needs to be rejected by all those people who are truly committed to equality and justice. As Sailesh Mehta, of the Society of Asian Lawyers, said when asked about Ms Bahl: "We are always concerned whenever the race card is used that it is not devalued in any way. "Exactly".

Fact 2.

Miss Bahl has been found to be a liar by two independent enquiries.

The Griffith enquiry concluded:

"Not withstanding his impression that Kamlesh Bahl is a person of the highest intelligence and extremely fluent and articulate, Lord Griffith's repeatedly rejected her evidence where it conflicted with that of the complainants and other witnesses. Where her evidence was contradicted by any other witness they believed that other witness over Miss Bahl."

The Employment Tribunal agreed:

"In our judgement however, she (Miss Bahl) was not a witness of truth. Where her evidence was independently corroborated we accepted it where as contradicted by other witnesses we rejected it where there is neither corroboration nor contradiction we tested it carefully against the surrounding facts.

They went much further and found her to have committed perjury. The following are all quotes from the Tribunals findings:

1. Kamlesh Bahl gave clear and categorical evidence both in chief and in cross examination that she has not spoken to the press and that she has not spoken to Frances Gibb on the evening of the 15th December 1999. When records of calls made from a mobile telephone that evening were put to her she asserted she had lent the telephone to her nephew and denied making the calls. She had not seen those particular records before she was questioned about them. The records showed calls to a private office line at the Law Society, to Kamlesh Bahl's solicitor on his private line, her mother, her home number, her secretary, the Law Society press office as well as two calls to Frances Gibbs' home number. She was faced with evidence that the calls were made after 11pm that night so she substituted a different unverifiable account. She claimed she had merely given an assurance not to talk to Frances Gibbs about these matters. She stated that she now remembered the calls and that at midnight she had spoken to Frances Gibbs for almost 24 minutes about the race relations amendment bill. The tribunal was driven to the conclusion that the earlier denial of having spoken to Frances Gibbs was a deliberate lie on oath in our proceedings and the assertion that she had not discussed any of the events of the day with Frances Gibbs was frankly incredible.

There are other aspects of the evidence that supported this assessment.

2. On the 15th December 1999 she circulated a letter from Lewis Silken of the 14th December 1999 to Council containing a misleading statement that Robert Sayer had endeavoured physically to remove her from the Law Society. At no time prior to the commencement of these proceedings was that statement withdrawn or modified. In evidence she has resiled from the proposition that he had man handled her. The tribunal found that "Robert Sayer did not endeavour physically to remove Kamlesh Bahl from the Law Society or have her so removed. However, it was more likely that Kamlesh Bahl has chosen to characterise Robert Sayers behaviour as intimidating and threatening that he did in fact behave in such a manner. We came to that conclusion for two reasons. It was not until the hearing before us that Kamlesh Bahl withdrew drew the implication of being manhandled that the expression "endeavoured to physically remove her" conveys. Secondly Robert Sayer and Jane Betts had been at pains about the formal process with regard to any formal complaint about Kamlesh Bahl's bullying behaviour. It is extremely unlikely that Robert Sayer would behave in any way that would jeopardise the formal process that was now under way".

"She circulated the statement to Council on the same day which asserted that no complaints were made about her at the EOC, in fact as she new allegations and complaints of bullying and harassment had indeed been made against her at the EOC. Being cross-examined by Ms Simler she justified her statement to council by saying I draw a distinction between an allegation and a complaint. Her statement there had been no complaint against her at the EOC was made in reply to a statement made by MSF that they believed that there were allegations against her at the EOC. This response was facile and suggested her earlier statement was a deliberate attempt to mislead."

(Miss Bahl claims she left the EOC early to devote time to the Law Society. On the 13th August 1998 it was announced that Kamlesh Bahl had decided to leave the EOC with effect from the 30th November 1998 not withstanding that her employment as the chairwomen of the EOC did not expire to July 1999).

3. The Tribunal said "In a further statement to council following the publication of Lord Griffith's report she asserted "had I ever been given the slightest inkling that staff were allegedly experiencing difficulties with my approach I would have had an opportunity to properly respond with the consequences that further complaints of a similar nature would not have arisen". This was not done. She admitted that this statement was untrue as was the statement to a similar affect in her witness statement before us.

4. In the same statement she said " both under the Law Society Policy and under the Commission Code I should at all times had the right to be accompanied and represented. I was denied this right at all stages in the conduct of this matter up to the Griffith enquiry itself". She had in fact had the benefit of leading council and expert Solicitors at Law Societies expense throughout the procedure. This was known to Council at all times. The statement was puzzling. It was untrue but it could not of mislead council members. It was indicative of Kamlesh Bahl's tenancy to be selective in her view of the facts to suit her own ends.

Miss Bahl's was the subject of complaints about bullying during her time at the Equal Opportunities Commission. This was denied by her but the Employment Tribunal commented in their judgement:

5."She (Miss Bahl) circulated a statement to Council on the same day (15/12/99) which asserted that no complaints were made about her at the EOC. In fact, as she knew, allegations and complaints of bullying and harassment had indeed been made against her at the EOC. Being cross-examined by Ms Simler she justified her statement to Council by saying "I draw a distinction between an allegation and a complaint" As her statement that there had been no complaint against her at the EOC was made in reply to a statement made by MSF that they believed that there were allegations against her at the EOC, this response was facile and suggested her earlier statement was a deliberate attempt to mislead".

Fact 3.

Miss Bahl has consistently displayed a complete lack of remorse.

The Tribunal found "Kamlesh Bahl did not at any stage accept responsibility for the stress described by the complainants. She offered no apology. She did not accept that it was any part of her responsibility to behave sensitively towards individuals she knew to be suffering from stress or to be receiving medical treatment".

Or in Miss Bahl's own words "Without exception, every one of the individual complaints about me stemmed from a failure by one member of staff, in most cases repeatedly by a member of staff, to carry out what they were supposed to do either by the Interim Executive Committee or by another office holder or by me."

From the Employment Tribunal's findings:

"On the 14th March Langley & Co (Miss Bahl's second set of solicitors) sent the Law Society a statement of Kamlesh Bahl. Her statement contained no suggestion of regret or apology for her actions. She stated " what concerns me in this matter is the way in which I have been treated…..This document was Kamlesh Bahl's opportunity to put a case to council. Nevertheless the document concluded statements in support of the contention that she be unfairly treated which were and which Kamlesh Bahl new to be untrue"

Fact 4.

Many of the Law Society's staff were terrified of Miss Bahl.

In her evidence the staff Union representative said:

Q Can you recall the gist of what the people were saying to you?
A. They appeared very frightened. They were talking about shouting, of irrational behavior, unreasonable demands, and how stressful it was.
Q. You say in the last sentence in paragraph 3 "without exception they expressed their fear that if Kamlesh found out they were speaking about her they would lose their jobs?
A. Yes.
Q. Is that accurate?
A. Absolutely. People were very, very frightened. The atmosphere was one of fear. People were very, very frightened about their jobs and their position at The Law Society.

A. People were very frightened. they did not want anyone to know about the difficulties. They certainly did not want to it to come to Kamlesh's attention at that stage. I would say A F particularly was just incredibly frightened. She became quite hysterical on occasions. She did not know what to do.

The Head of Human Resources said:

Q. So what did you learn on 11th November in your meeting with X?
A. I learned of Kamlesh Bahl's behavior towards her over a period which I think spanned possibly up to six months. started before the ABA conference.
Q. What was X's demeanour during that meeting?
A. She was desperately upset, desperately so. She was in tears. We had to keep stopping. She came into the room and sat down and said, "I just do not know where to begin, there is so much." And I said, "Take your time. You just tell me anything you want me to hear from the beginning. Start at the beginning." And she did. She was plainly not able to confront Kamlesh Bahl herself.
Q Why do you say that?,
A She was desperately… I have never seen anyone so afraid in a work situation before as I saw X. She was absolutely terrified. She had just come from a meeting, I think the day before, where she had been in tears before she went to the meeting.
Q. A meeting with whom?
A. With Kamlesh Bahl -- at the prospect of it. She had been reduced to tears afterwards.
Q. What was she afraid of?
A. I suppose I would call it victimization. This is where I heard the phrase that -- what were described to me as Kamlesh Bahl's "tentacles". By that was an encapsulation of X's fear that if she were to go to another job or seek to go to another job that, because Kamlesh had a big network, very wide, she would follow her and cause her some harm in a work sense elsewhere, damage her prospects.

A.X had told me that she was not the only one; this is what she said. I was horrified and very concerned. She said, "It is not just me." She did mention Rl, but she did not mention any other names to me. But I got the clear impression that there was a number of people so affected. I was just so conscious that, as an employer, we had responsibilities to our staff. She told me she had seen Robert, Robert Sayer, and that he had been very kind. She made a point of saying that, that Robert had been very kind, but she did not think he could help her. And I did offer to raise it with Kamlesh, if I had something to put to her, because I knew I would be asked.

Q. Was that offer taken up by Miss X?
A. No

And to those who think bullying is childish and the staff should have dealt with it let me quote from a text book on the subject:

"Workplace Bullying is the repeated, health-endangering mistreatment of a person (the Target) by a cruel perpetrator (the bully).

It is not "tough" management; it is illegitimate behavior, unrelated to accomplishing productive work, so outrageous as to be the antithesis of what a good employer values and encourages.

It escalates from harassment after bullying is reported and the employer responds inappropriately and inadequately to engulfing an entire work unit in chaos, pitting co-workers, management and management's allies against the Target.

Bullies are rarely psychopathic; the majority are opportunistic, Half of all bullies are women. Bullying poses a serious health hazard to Targets by compromising their psychological and physical health. Targets who are most surprised by the baseless cruelty inflicted on them suffer the most severe effects (PTSD) and take the longest time to heal afterwards. Silent, frozen co-workers worsen the problem often by choosing to cut off support, to tacitly or directly join the bully's personal vendetta against the Target. Eventually, the workplace is paralysed by fear, incapable of productive work, and susceptible to costly downtime with an unhealthy workforce and an increased liability for destructive employment practices.

Workplace Bullying is more similar to Domestic Violence than to schoolyard, childhood bullying"

That was the situation the Law Society found itself in 1999

A few people in the senior levels of the Law Society had the courage to confront the problem. The Griffith enquiry proved they were right to do so.

Fact 5.

Miss Bahl was not the subject of discrimination.

She was arrogant enough to think Lord Griffith would find her innocent. Eventually she realised he would not. Four months after the Griffith Enquiry had been set up to examine Miss Bahl's bullying and just days before it's report finding her guilty was published Miss Bahl raised the discrimination accusations, or "played the race card" as her former colleague at the EOC feared she might do

The Tribunal said about the Lord Griffith's enquiry -

1. Jean Johnson was not cross examined about her motive for making a complaint about bullying against Kamlesh Bahl and it was never suggested that she was part of a conspiracy to run Kamlesh Bahl from the Law Society. It was never suggested that Jean Johnson ever acted on grounds of race or sex and discrimination in relation to her treatment of Kamlesh Bahl.

2. Jane Betts was cross examined at length by Nigel Jones (Miss Bahl's QC) who explored the possibility there had been orchestrated witch hunt to get Kamlesh Bahl out. However it was not at any stage suggested that she acted on grounds of race or sex in relation to her treatment of Kamlesh Bahl.

3. Robert Sayer was cross examined by Nigel Jones at length about his motivation…. At no stage did he suggest of Robert Sayer during cross examination or in closing submissions that his treatment of Kamlesh Bahl was on grounds of her race or sex.

4. In his closing submissions Nigel Jones attacked the credibility of Jane Betts and Robert Sayer in harsh terms. He did not at any time suggest their motivation was racist or sexist nor that the treatment at any time was affected by consideration of Kamlesh Bahl's race or sex.

On the 15th March Kamlesh Bahl issued proceedings in the Employment Tribunal.

When Miss Bahl did get around to bringing race and sex into the game she was undiscriminating about who she accused and of what. She lodged over 200 accusations of discrimination against the Law Society, Jane Betts, (the Chief Executive) Jean Johnson (Head of Human Resources) Robert Sayer (President 1999/2000) Anne Coles (LS chief legal adviser) and Anthony Brookes (assistant legal adviser).

All of the accusations against the Law Society, Jean Johnson, Anne Coles and Anthony Brookes were thrown out as unfounded. All of the accusations of deliberate acts of discrimination made against Mr Sayer and Mrs Betts were also rejected by the Tribunal.

But the Tribunal decided in its wisdom to find eight minor acts of what it called "unconscious" discrimination proved. Perhaps they thought sacrificing a couple of minnows would satisfy Miss Bahl. If so, like too many others, they underestimated her.

I asked a colleague to look at the Tribunals findings. His conclusions were:

"The findings are not supported by the evidence. Indeed, in parts they were contradicted by the evidence and in parts jumped to unsupportable assumptions. They "strained" to find fault".

The Tribunal said "We do not now what is in the minds of Robert Sayer and Jane Betts. It is sufficient for our purposes to find where appropriate in each case they would have not treated a white person or a man less favourably. Though it is not to say that we find that they were conscious and motivated by the grounds of race or gender. On the balance of the probabilities we find they are not conscious of their behaviour towards her being in part motivated by her race or sex".

Or as the Telegraph put it on 17/7/2001:

"Tribunal members did not distinguish between the race or sex of the applicant [Miss Bahl] in reaching this conclusion suggesting that they did not know what sort of discrimination they had found. As Mrs Betts said, it would be surprising if she and Mr Sayer - a high street solicitor with no experience of employment law - had handled everything correctly. But what seems an extraordinary intellectual leap is the inference of discrimination that the tribunal drew from its findings of mistreatment".

"Turning to Mrs Betts, the tribunal felt it might "legitimately draw inferences" from language she had used "deliberately, repeatedly and graphically". The tribunal's "prime example" occurred on the day that Miss Bahl lost her temper with a senior member of staff and reprimanded him, as the tribunal found, in very angry terms. Relating this incident to the Griffith's inquiry, Mrs Betts had said: "It was confrontational and it felt as though there was a culprit going to be found and blame was going to be apportioned and hands were going to be chopped off." Hands chopped off? That's a punishment in Muslim shariah law, isn't it? Never mind that Miss Bahl is a Hindu. The phrase "had clear racial overtones", the tribunal said. "I was trying to think of a current phrase for very violent behaviour," Mrs Betts told me.

Describing the same incident, another of those present said the staff member had looked "as if he had been hit in the solar-plexus". "That's a 1930s, public school phrase which I haven't heard for a long time," says Mrs Betts. "It was a sudden verbal onslaught and we each reached for language to describe it.

Later, Mrs Betts told colleagues that she had spent much of 1999 trying to find enough "Lebensraum" for the reprimanded staff member "to continue working while Kamlesh Bahl was around". Lebensraum? Wasn't that the space the Nazis wanted? The phrase has "an obvious racial context", concluded the tribunal. "I learned it at school as being one of those words that only exists in that language, like schadenfreude," protests Mrs Betts. "It was the proper word to have used but, on reflection, it was probably a gift to [Miss Bahl's] barrister".

One other remark about Miss Bahl's ability to switch abruptly from bullying to small talk ("she went back to quite girlish, childish chatter") was said to have supported the inference of sexual discrimination".

The Motives

Miss Bahl's are probably mixed. In her own mind she appears to have rewritten reality. She now believes she did not bully anyone. As a result she now has to believe Lord Griffith and his two expert colleagues were wrong. That everyone who gave evidence to them was part of a conspiracy to lie about her. And the only reason they would do that has to be because of discrimination.

It's a self justifying fantasy.

She also wants revenge against all those she believes were part of the plot against her. Even though they are innocent.

Her delusion do not extend to ignoring money.
She thinks she is entitled to lots of it.

Her Supporters

Politics. Miss Bahl is a member of the Society of Conservative lawyers. But she is supported by others of a different political background.

Miss Bahl was represented at the Employment Tribunal by Louise Christians firm Christian Fisher.

Imran Khan is running a campaign in support of her which includes having called a high profile SGM of the Law Society.

From The Times
Edition WED 16 JAN 2002, Page Times 2 4
The Left side of the law; Reportage

"In a journey from protest to power, a generation of hard Left radicals has managed to infiltrate the Establishment. Michael Gove investigates They fought the Establishment. Now they are the Establishment. A generation of hard left radicals for whom the powerful were once the enemy have graduated into their ranks. But in their journey from protest to power they have thrown none of their ideological baggage overboard. Far from it. For it is their radicalism which has enabled them to occupy the influential position they do in the legal profession. Imran Khan, Among female solicitors the only figure close to Peirce in public profile is Louise Christian, All three are passionate, committed, effective lawyers. And all three are passionate, committed and effective supporters of the Trotskyist Socialist Alliance. Christian was the Socialist Alliance candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green at the last election, where she stood against the Labour minister Barbara Roche. Effective as Christian's campaigning has been, it cannot yet match the success of Imran Khan's. He stood for Arthur Scargill's hard left Socialist Labour Party in East Ham during the 1997 general election, but has subsequently left it and is now a listed supporter of the Socialist Alliance. It is not, however, his open party-political activity that has secured him publicity, but his other campaigning work."

Miss Bahl is currently represented by Laurence Davies of the North Lambeth Law Centre. Another member of the extreme left. Mr Davies is a leading figure in the London Race Discrimination Unit funded by The Commission for Race Equality. He works closely with Mr Khan and is a regular conference speaker with him at such high profile events as "The Third Law With a Conscience" event.

The North Lambeth Law Centre is funded by Lambeth Council. It is understood to be limited by its constitution to acting for people who live or work in Lambeth. Miss Bahl does neither.

The Times on the 30th May 1997 reported. "A London Solicitor, Lawrence Davies, is setting up the first law firm dedicated to claims of discrimination and unfair dismissal on a contingency fee basis…..he makes no charge but takes up to 30% of damages".

In the interests of openness and transparency, perhaps Mr Davies would like to clarify whether or not the resources of the North Lambeth Law Centre are being used in breach of its rules to benefit a non resident and what his financial arrangements are with Miss Bahl.

Delusion - From "Psychiatry Today".

Delusional (Paranoid) Disorder.
Psychiatrists make a distinction between the milder paranoid personality disorder described above and the more debilitating delusional (paranoid) disorder. The hallmark of this disorder is the presence of a persistent, nonbizarre delusion without symptoms of any other mental disorder.

Delusions are firmly held beliefs that are untrue, not shared by others in the culture, and not easily modifiable. Five delusional themes are frequently seen in delusional disorder. In some individuals, more than one of them is present.

The most common delusion in delusional disorder is that of persecution. While persons with paranoid personality might suspect their colleagues of joking at their expense, persons with delusional disorder may suspect others of participating in elaborate master plots to persecute them. They believe that they are being poisoned, drugged, spied upon, or are the targets of conspiracies to ruin their reputations or even to kill them. They sometimes engage in litigation in an attempt to redress imagined injustices.

Persons with grandiose delusions often feel that they have been endowed with special powers and that, if allowed to exercise these powers, they could cure diseases, banish poverty, ensure world peace, or perform other extraordinary feats.

"Paranoia is a term used by mental health specialists to describe suspiciousness (or mistrust) that is either highly exaggerated or not warranted at all."

Miss Bahl clearly believes she is the victim
of a widespread conspiracy.

She is wrong

She clearly believes she had unique capabilities.

She is wrong.

She is using the extreme left for her own purposes.
The extreme left is using her for theirs.

The cost to the profession, both financially and to its reputation is immense.

The cost to her victims in stress and suffering is equally immense.

So, what are you going to do about it ?

Do you have the courage to stand up for right
or is evil to triumph ?

Perjury transcript

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