Liverpool Law Society President, Julie O’Hare, has expressed alarm over comments made by Home Secretary, Priti Patel, and Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
The Home Secretary when discussing her plans for changes to the immigration policy stated: “For those defending the broken system — the traffickers, the do-gooders, the lefty lawyers…they are defending the indefensible”. Subsequently the Prime Minister, speaking on the condition of the criminal justice system, said they would be: “stopping [it] from being hamstrung by what the home secretary would doubtless and rightly call the lefty human rights lawyers and other do-gooders”.
The Law Society of England and Wales has written to the Home Office requesting the Government change the language being used. Simon Davis, President of The Law Society, stating that the insults being alleged are risking verbal and physical abuse against members of the legal community for merely doing their job and undermines our legal system which ensures that power is not abused. He also later said that: “Legal rights cannot be rewritten through rhetoric”.
Liverpool Law Society wholeheartedly endorses these statements.
Reacting to the comments, Ms O’Hare said “The comments made by the Home Secretary and Prime Minister are a great concern. We support our members who may feel threatened or undermined by these comments and stand alongside those who wish to challenge the language being used by the Government. We wish to support our colleagues so that they may continue to represent their clients, and simply do their job, without fear.
As a profession we are trained to not allow our personal views to influence the service that we provide. As a profession we owe a duty to our clients but we are, ultimately, officers of the Court with an overriding duty to uphold the rule of law and ensure administration of justice.
Many lawyers working in sectors with Legal Aid (such as immigration and crime) work extremely long hours and make no profit to ensure that the rule of law is fairly and equally applied in accordance with the fundamental principles of our legal system and the law as set by Parliament. It is disappointing that the Government feels it is appropriate to attack these hard working individuals for applying the laws of the land and should instead focus on making the long awaited positive improvement and changes in these sectors.
This society will continue to champion justice for all and uphold the rightful administration of the rule of law.”