Analysis Breaking comment

Pro-Israel lawyer Lewis heavily criticised by judge for conduct of case

Pro-Israel lawyer and supporter of right-wing group, who was disciplined by SRA for abuse toward critics, now rapped by High Court judge

Israel-based solicitor Mark Lewis has been heavily criticised by Mr Justice Nicklin in a recent High Court judgement. Lewis is known for acting for Rachel Riley against Mike Sivier and Laura Murray, and for John Ware against Jewish Voice for Labour and Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi. Lewis also acted for the late Dr Pete Newbon – a director of the notorious so-called ‘Labour Against Antisemitism’ (LAAS) group who was repeatedly disciplined by his employers for his behaviour on social media and was being sued by another of his victims – in his libel claim against Michael Rosen after Rosen had complained about Newbon’s tweeted misuse of Rosen’s famous ‘Bear Hunt’ book to attack former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In the recent case, Lewis came unstuck when he was acting for Richard Davidoff of ABC Estates, a lettings and leasehold management firm. Lewis was seeking a court order requiring Google to disclose the identities of people with gmail addresses who had left negative reviews about ABC Estates on Trustpilot. The evidence in support of the court order was two witness statement by Lewis. The judge described Lewis’ evidence in general as “nothing more than assertion” and “perfunctory, even desultory” and “simply not good enough” to justify making the court order.

Things then got much worse for Lewis. He had stated that the Trustpilot reviews were “false, fabricated statements which Unknown person(s) know are untrue”. The judge conducted some online research himself and found that one of the reviews was true and based on the findings of another court. The judge said it was:

a matter of very real concern that the Claimants put evidence before the Court, on an ex parte application, that was not true.

The judge did not require Lewis to provide an explanation for the evidence that was “seriously in error” and accepted that Lewis would not have knowingly misled the court. The judge’s explained Lewis’ evidence as being:

because he had simply failed to carry out sufficient (or any) research or to take adequate instructions from his clients.

The judge also stated that there had been a “significant failure” by Lewis to comply with the general obligation of full and frank disclosure. The judge refused all the applications and the escapade is likely to have costs Lewis’ clients tens of thousands of pounds. Perhaps Lewis’ claim against Michael Rosen would have ended in the same way?

Mr Justice Nicklin’s full judgment is available here, with comments about Lewis’s contribution from paragraph 84 onwards.

Mark Lewis is a former director of UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) until his emigration to Israel and was involved in the relaunch of right-wing pro-Israel group Herut UK. UKLFI locked access to a YouTube video in which a panel discussed Lewis’s “very handy way of bankrupting organisations” the group considered to have done ‘wrong’. However, a transcript of the discussion is still available.

In 2018, Lewis was fined by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority for abusive speech on social media toward a young Labour-supporting critic and others. He responded to the judgment by accusing the SRA that:

faced with a choice between Holocaust denying neo-Nazis and a Jewish lawyer… It chose to side with the neo-Nazis.

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