UK: Government rhetoric on "activist lawyers" inspiring physical attacks, say legal professionals


The government's ongoing rhetoric against "activist lawyers" - which seems to be spearheaded, in particular, by the Home Office - has led to a physical attack at a law firm, legal professionals claim. Last month, a man entered a London law firm's office with a knife and managed to injure one member of staff in a racist attack, before being overpowered.

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Lawyers claim knife attack at law firm was inspired by Priti Patel's rhetoric (The Guardian, link):

"Britain’s top lawyers have written to Priti Patel to express their concern after a knifeman threatened to kill an immigration solicitor last month in an attack colleagues say was directly motivated by comments made by the home secretary.

On 7 September a man with a large knife entered a London law firm and launched a “violent, racist attack” that injured a staff member before the assailant was overwhelmed.

A confederate flag and far-right literature were allegedly found in a bag he was carrying. According to documents about the incident, police described the knife as a “weapon designed to cause serious harm”.

Days before, on 3 September, Patel dismayed the legal profession by claiming “activist lawyers” were frustrating the removal of migrants."

Major legal body demands public apology from Boris Johnson over ‘lefty human rights lawyers’ comments (The Independent, link):

"Boris Johnson is facing calls from the legal profession to issue a public apology and immediately retract his attack on “lefty human rights lawyers” made during the Conservative Party conference.

As pressure intensified on the prime minister over the provocative remarks, claims also emerged over the weekend a knife attack on an immigration solicitor in September had been motivated by previous comments from Priti Patel.

Before the incident, the home secretary hit out at “activist lawyers” she said were frustrating Home Office attempts to deport individuals with no legal right to be in the UK – comments she doubled down on during her speech to the Tory faithful."

The Law Society and the Bar Council have both condemned the repeated stream of derisive comments from the government.

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