UK lawyers hit back at govt attempts to ‘undermine rule of law’

The Prime Minister has echoed the comments of Priti Patel in saying lawyers are "lefties" who act against the public interest.

30 Jul 2021| News

Lawyers across the UK have spoken out about what they believe to be repeated attempts by the Johnson administration to undermine the rule of law.

The outcry was triggered by an interview on LBC Radio with the Prime Minister, who said: “The Labour opposition has consistently taken the side of, I’m afraid, left-wing criminal justice lawyers against … the interest of the public.”

His comments came after the government published a new Judicial Review and Courts Bill, which it is believed could be used to quash public dissent against the actions of the government.

Speaking to the Independent, the Law Society, which represents solicitors in England Wales, said: “Repeated government attacks on the integrity of the legal profession are deeply concerning. This divisive language serves nobody and puts lawyers and their clients at risk.”

It explained: “Solicitors have a professional obligation to act in the best interests of their client, whoever they may be, and their personal and political views do not come into it.”

The Faculty of Advocates in Scotland said the Prime Minister’s comments “go hand-in-hand” with recent pronouncments from Home Secretary, Priti Patel, in which she described lawyers representing migrants as “lefties” and “do-gooders”.

Accusing Johnson of trying to win “political capital from a baseless mischaracterisation” of lawyers, the body said there appeared to be a government “strategy to undermine the rule of law”.

“It is essential to a fair system of justice that those charged with crime have legal representation,” the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland, said.

“Without such representation, no conviction would be safe. For the prime minister to undermine that principle, with the aim of political posturing, is damaging to the rule of law.”