Liverpool Law Society President, Julie O’Hare, today expressed alarm over comments made by Home Secretary, Priti Patel, about what she referred to as “activist lawyers” – a reference made to solicitors willing to represent asylum seekers in court.
Reacting to the comments, Ms O’Hare said “The rule of law is a fundamental principle of our democracy. There is both an expectation and understanding that our government will always act in accordance with the law and that if they do not do so then part of the function of an independent legal profession has been to seek, on their clients’ behalf, to hold them to account.”
The comments were contained in a recent Tweet from the Home Office Twitter feed which cast aspersions that their work in dealing with asylum seekers was being hindered by “activist lawyers”.
Following complaints from the Law Society of England and Wales, the Tweet was removed. However, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has subsequently used the same term to suggest that somehow lawyers were acting in a political manner to frustrate government policy.
Simon Davis, the current President of The Law Society said “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.”
Liverpool Law Society wholeheartedly endorses this statement.
Ms O’Hare went on to say, “as a local law society it is part of our mission to support our members and to champion justice for all. One of our values is to ensure respect for each other, our clients and importantly the rule of law.
“We will therefore stand alongside all of our members who seek to hold the government to account in these challenging times to ensure that they are able to represent their clients without fear”.