800 Legal Professionals Call for Apology From Johnson and Patel
The signatories, drawn from a range of professions across the legal sector, called for an end to the government’s “hostility” against lawyers.
In an open letter published this weekend, more than 800 legal professionals invited both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel to apologise for their “display of hostility” towards lawyers.
Among the signatories are three former supreme justices of the Supreme Court – Lord Walker, Lord Dyson and Lord Collins – alongside 294 junior barristers, 162 solicitors, 90 academics, 84 QCs, 76 partners and law firm directors, 74 law professors and eight legal NGO directors.
“We are all deeply concerned at recent attacks, made by the Home Secretary and echoed by the Prime Minister, on lawyers seeking to hold the government to the law,” the signatories wrote.
“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.”
The letter follows the UK legal sector’s widespread condemnation of comments from Boris Johnson and Priti Patel criticising lawyers who represent migrants arriving in the UK, describing them as “do-gooders” and “lefty lawyers”.
In August, the Home Office also tweeted a video accusing “activist lawyers” of delaying and disrupting the return of illegal immigrants to their home countries. The post was later removed following its condemnation by Matthew Rycroft, the department’s top civil servant.
Last week, a man was charged with planning an act of terrorism after allegedly visiting a firm of immigration lawyers in London and threatening staff with a knife over what he believed to be their preventing of the removal of illegal immigrants from the UK.