Hundreds of Immigration Lawyers Demand Apology From Priti Patel and Boris Johnsonl
Over 800 legal figures, including three former supreme court justices, have signed a letter urging Boris Johson and Priti Patel to cease their attack on lawyers and apologise for the remarks they’ve made.
Why has the letter been written?
The letter comes after several remarks from the government that have attacked lawyers for the role they have played in halting deportations. It started when a video posted to the Home Office’s official twitter account blamed “activist lawyers” for preventing deportations. A few days later the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, used the same phrase when referring to lawyers in a Tweet she posted. Most recently, at the Conservative party conference, the Prime Minister himself echoed this attack in a speech where he used the phrase “lefty-lawyers”.
Now though, lawyers are saying that these comments have put the lives of lawyers in danger and seek to undermine the rule of law, in the letter they said:
“Such attacks endanger not only the personal safety of lawyers and others working for the justice system, as has recently been vividly seen; they undermine the rule of law which ministers and lawyers alike are duty bound to uphold.”
How do these attack endanger the lives of lawyers?
Just days after her comments about “activist lawyers” a knife attack took place in a London law firm. The attack was carried out by 28-year-old Cavan Medlock, who was charged with a terrorist plot to kill a solicitor due to the role he played in representing immigrants.
In a letter to The Observer following the attack the law firm said:
“responsibility and accountability…lies squarely at the feet of Priti Patel”.
Who were the signatories?
As well as the former supreme court justices, the letter was also signed by five retired appeal court judges, three former high court judges, the lawyer heads of four Oxford University colleges, more than 80 QCs, 69 law professors from leading English universities, the directors of Liberty and Justice, as well as hundreds of law firm partners, barristers and solicitors.
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(Image credit – Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
(Image credit: Richard Townshend)