Rolls Building court officials demanded £150 from a breastfeeding barrister when she needed to express milk on the premises. 

The barrister, who wishes to remain anonymous, was told by court officials that she would have to pay a fee of £150 to hire a room (that's the equivalent cost of 4,050 baby wet wipes or 1,285 nappies). Her only other option to express milk for her mewling newborn would have been to hide away in a toilet cubicle.

The barrister was on maternity leave but was attending the Rolls Building as she had previously advised on a case that was being heard at the court. She was eventually provided a free room, when court officials realised it was unfair to milk the situation any longer (ROF apologises).

“This is neither Rolls Building nor wider HMCTS policy," a HM Courts and Tribunals Service spokeswoman told RollOnFriday. "We are very sorry for the effect this incident had and are clear that we need to provide private space for nursing mothers in our courts and tribunals on request." 
The spokeswoman added that there are "free-to-use rooms for breastfeeding and pumping at the Rolls Building and have investigated what happened in this instance. We are speaking to those involved and, where necessary, will provide additional training to staff."

Latham lawyers may be able to provide training on a more progressive attitude to breastfeeding. 

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 11 October 19 08:28

They made a mistake and it was rectified at the time by the looks of it. Hope she wasn't rude or condescending to the court staff.

ShootyMcShootyface 11 October 19 09:04

While I agree that rudeness and condescension are to be avoided, it sounds like there was a member of court staff who needed their arse kicked, on grounds of not knowing procedures, lack of common sense/ decency, and medal-winning Jobsworthiness.

Anonymous 11 October 19 09:21

Hope the staff weren't rude or condescending to her! It's humiliating enough trying to feed or pump when away from home, I cannot imagine what they were thinking in trying to charge her for the room.

Anonymous 11 October 19 10:00

Free to use rooms for "pumping", eh?

Dearie 11 October 19 10:38

Proper jobsworth, and all the court staff I have encountered have been rude and condescending (save one in Manchester who was amazing so I wrote a letter to the Judge and court manager afterwards to praise them - that is literally how exceptional it was). Let's hope they haven't treated public users of court in this way.

Anonymous 11 October 19 11:27

Shoot and Dearie, it would be interesting to hear the court staff's side of this story to provide some balance. If the barrister's account is true, trading would more likely be a better option than kicking ar*e. I still hope that she wasn't rude and condescending to the court staff, whether or not other court staff may or may not have been rude or condescending to other people it would still be wrong.

Dearie 11 October 19 13:19

Why is there an immediate assumption that the barrister was potentially rude and condescending? Agree it should not happen and training would be appropriate. I am realistic that we are never going to have lovely court staff and they must be treated nicely or they can seriously mess up your day.  

But this would stress anyone out if they were trying to work but they have to argue with court staff who are not the most helpful just to do their job. Being unable to express is equivalent of not letting someone go to the toilet when you know there is a toilet. It hurts and it's messy, in addition to humiliating. So even if she did get prickly I think it was entirely justified. 

Anonymous 11 October 19 13:39

There's no assumption that the barrister was rude and condescending, it was merely expressed that it was hoped she wasn't.  A lot of barristers aren't lovely or helpful to court staff. There's no justification for being rude or discourteous - prickly maybe, but when the situation was rectified it would hoped anyone who had been prickly would cease being so. 

Anonymous 12 October 19 08:04

I think she was wrong to run to the media about this (assuming it was she who did). She come out of it looking bad as a result.

Anonymous 12 October 19 10:55

Why even mention it when there is no hint in the story that she was rude or condescending? The opposite in fact - she was treated very poorly by the court staff.

I hope that you don't always jump to the defence of those in the wrong. I'm not making an assumption that you do, of course, just expressing a hope.

Anonymous 12 October 19 17:43

@10.55 - it doesn't say the opposite - it doesn't say she wasn't rude or condescending, which would be the opposite. We don't know if she was treated very poorly or not, its possible that there was a genuine mistake and that they were very polite to her. It is also possible that she was rude and condescending. I even mention it because it's a possibility.

I hope that you don't always jump to assumptions about who is in the wrong. I'm not making an assumption that you do, of course, just expressing a hope.

Anonymous 13 October 19 08:41

Were the court staff definitely aware that the room was wanted for breast-feeding?

a perfectly normal human being 13 October 19 14:31

Shouldn't the headline be "breastfeeding barrister not charged 150 quid to express milk at court"?

A staff member of appropriate seniority stepped in and ensured that she was allowed to find a free room to pump. What's the story?

Anonymous 13 October 19 23:04

She was offered to pay £150 or express in the toilet. In what way is that not wrong, and in what way is that not being treated poorly?

I'm inferring from the actual story, not making assumptions.

Lady Penelope 14 October 19 10:39

Anonymous, when you're in a hole this size, just stop digging.

The court staff were in the wrong to try and charge her for hiring a room when they should have immediately done what they could to accommodate her request. Even suggesting that she should be charged for this is quite extraordinary.

We don't know exactly how the conversation went down, and there is no evidence from the story that seh was "rude" or "condescending" to court staff, but IMO she would have been perfectly justified in completely losing her shit in this scenario.

Anonymous 14 October 19 13:24

Lady Penelope - we don't know if the court staff were even aware what the room was needed for when they said there would be a charge of its use. In any case, the mistake was realised, no charge was made, there may be a need for training, but that should be the end of the matter.

We don't know if she was rude or condescending to the court staff or not, but it is possible she was, and the fact that she wrongly publicised the matter suggests she may have been. She may not, but if she was it would not have been justified - the court staff are not there to be spoken down to. She certainly (and she would probably agree) not have been 'perfectly justified in completely losing her shit' as you suggest, she would have only ended up making a fool of herself had she done so.

As you say, we don't know how the conversation went, but if you're not able to see that we have only heard one side of this story then I'm not the one in a hole.

Anonymous 14 October 19 17:05

13th @ 23.04 - it doesn't say the court staff knew she wanted to use the room to breast-feed or that they suggested she use a toilet, you've assumed all of that.

Anonymous 14 October 19 17:24

Presumably they were aware, hence the apology by the court and clarification that this is not their policy. How odd that you are so fixated on the possibility - not suggested anywhere in the story - that the woman in question was rude or condescending. It's appalling to expect a woman on maternity leave to pay £150 to express milk, or to prepare food for a young child in the toilet. She justifiably complained, as evidenced by the fact that it was eventually resolved. Why shouldn't she?

Anonymous 14 October 19 20:44

How odd that you are fixated on assuming they were aware 17.24, when there is nothing in the story to suggest they were and not having heard the court staffs' side of the story. They may or may not have been aware, it is not clear, but if they weren't and subsequently found out that the room was for the purposes of breastfeeding they would most likely have apologised and clarified that it was not their policy, the fact that they did so doesn't mean they were aware all along. I am not saying she was rude or condescending, but can't discount the possibility that she might have been given the way the story has been made public. Nobody is disputing her right to complain, but I don't think complaining publicly when the matter was resolved was fair.

Anonymous 14 October 19 22:02

I said she was offered to pay £150 or express in the toilet. That's literally what the story says. She wanted to hire a room and was told she would have to pay £150. Her only other option was to express in the toilet.

Anonymous 15 October 19 12:54

It does say that 14th @22.02. But it doesn't say if the court staff were aware that the room was needed for breast-feeding or that the court staff told her to go and use the toilet if she was unwilling to pay for a room.

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