UK: Attacks on the legal profession undermine the rule of law

Press release from The Law Society in response to the UK Home Office's attempt to disparage lawyers who provide legal advice to migrants and asylum-seekers.


The press release, originally published here, comes in response to a Home Office video that contains the following text:

"We are working to remove migrants with no right to remain in the UK

But current return regulations are rigid and open to abuse...

...allowing activist lawyers to delay and risupt returns

Soon we will no longer be bound by EU laws and can negotiate our own return arrangements"


Attacks on the legal profession undermine the rule of law

A Home Office video referring to immigration lawyers who provide legal advice to migrants as ‘activist lawyers’ is condemned by the Law Society of England and Wales.

"Attacks on the integrity of the legal profession undermine the rule of law,” said Law Society president Simon Davis.

“Solicitors advise their clients on their rights under the laws created by parliament. To describe lawyers who are upholding the law as ‘activist lawyers’ is misleading and dangerous. 

“We should be proud that we live in a country where legal rights cannot be overridden without due process, and we should be proud that we have legal professionals who serve the rule of law.

“It is vital in a democratic society that each case is judged on merit and it is the role of the justice system to determine the validity of claims. This function is and must remain independent of government, media and public opinion.

"In countries where lawyers are unable to do their job for fear of intimidation the rule of law is weakened. The consequences are a society that becomes less safe, less stable and less fair.

“Britain's standing internationally is underpinned by our reputation for democracy, fair play and the independence of our legal system.

“This independence hinges on lawyers and judges not being hindered or intimidated in carrying out their professional duties and not being identified with their clients or their clients' causes.”

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Harriet Beaumont | harriet.beaumont [at] lawsociety.org.uk | 0208 049 3854

 

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