News & Updates

Solicitors in Westminster, London

Clergy Discipline Tribunal on important anti-Semitism case finishes

The 5 day Clergy Discipline Measure tribunal in the matter of Rev’d Dr Stephen Sizer finished on 27 May 2022  and we await the result. 

We do not usually report on our CDM tribunal cases but this case was unusual. It was, we understand, the first tribunal to be held in public. Usually they are private proceedings and just the outcome is published on the Church of England website. In this case, Dr Sizer exercised his right to have the hearing in public. Members of the press and supporters of Dr Sizer were therefore in attendance.

In brief, Marie van der Zyl, the current President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, brought a complaint against Dr Sizer in 2018. The Complaint was comprised of 12 separate allegations ranging from 2005 and 2018. Ms Van der Zyl complained that Dr Sizer had been anti-Semitic in the 12 things cited that he had said, written or done. Dr Sizer, a vocal supporter of Palestinian rights and, at times, a critic of the policies and actions of the state of Israel categorically denied all allegations that he was anti-Semitic or that he had said, done or written anything that could be interpreted as such. He has always made it clear that he repudiates anti-Semitism.

The case was also unusual as it involved expert evidence which we believe was also a ‘first’ for the CDM tribunal. Bishop Michael Ipgrave (on behalf of the Church of England) and Mr Antony Lerman (on behalf of Dr Sizer) gave expert evidence on how anti-Semitism should be understood in the relevant period.

The decision on whether Dr Sizer has been guilty of anti-Semitism or the secondary charge of ‘conduct unbecoming’ under the CDM will be handed down in the coming weeks.

Ed Henderson acted for Dr Sizer.