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Pesky activist lawyers

shawn mach
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Guess many of you will have seen the Home Office’s tweet yesterday evening

We are working to remove migrants with no right to remain in the UK ... but current return regulations are rigid and open to abuse ... allowing activist lawyers to delay and disrupt returns ...

https://twitter.com/ukhomeoffice/status/1298674067323727872

Some reaction:

Home Office accuses ‘activist lawyers’ of abusing immigration rules
Attacks on the legal profession undermine the rule of law

 

Rosie W
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The Home Office has gone rogue. Can’t imagine why..

Mike Hughes
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Openly as politicised as DWP.

Not a surprise. Less “gone rogue” than “comfortable being brazen about it”.

Paus17
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Time for a new acronym: PAL - “Proudly Activist Lawyer”

shawn mach
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The most senior civil servant at the Home Office has conceded that officials should not have used the phrase “activist lawyers” in a promotional video posted on Twitter:

Home Office wrong to refer to ‘activist lawyers’, top official admits

Home Office has now deleted its tweet ... but the clash between government and the legal profession shows no signs of easing:

Activist’ tweet deleted - as Number 10 targets ‘loudmouthed lawyers

shawn mach
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The Home Secretary is at it again:

Home secretary Priti Patel has denounced ‘leftie lawyers’ and ‘do-gooders’ in a speech promising the ‘biggest overhaul of our asylum system in decades’.

Speaking at the virtual Conservative party conference, Patel said she would bring in legislation next year to stop ‘endless legal claims’ from people who are refused asylum.

‘For those defending the broken system — the traffickers, the do-gooders, the leftie lawyers, the Labour Party — they are defending the indefensible. And that is something I will never do,’ she said.

Patel also suggested the government expected to receive legal challenges as a result of the overhaul, saying that those ‘well-rehearsed in how to play and profit from the broken system will lecture us on their grand theories about human rights’.

More: https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/patel-lashes-out-at-leftie-lawyers-in-asylum-speech/5105870.article

Elliot Kent
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It’s instructive to remember that Patel’s party has been in charge of the “broken system” for the past 10 years.

Pete at CAB
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I love the idea that we are all ‘pesky’, I assume Shawn is a Scooby Doo fan

I can imagine the scene;

A huge fire breathing dragon is on the beach at Dover scaring immigrants back to sea. Scooby and a new gang of do-gooders and lawyers trap the beast and when they take its head off they find a certain politician inside - “if it wasn’t for you pesky do-gooders I would have sent them all home…....................................”

Scooby snacks all round!

Mike Hughes
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Blimey, it’s only Monday…

shawn mach
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Law Society responds:

Slinging insults at lawyers risks leading not just to verbal abuse but to lawyers being physically attacked for doing their job … [and] it undermines a legal system which has evolved over many centuries, which helps ensure that power is not abused.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/lawyers-at-risk-of-physical-attack-after-patel-speech-says-law-society/5105879.article
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/oct/06/home-secretarys-dangerous-rhetoric-putting-lawyers-at-risk

 

shawn mach
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Lord Kerr, UK’s longest serving supreme court justice:

Lawyers are not activists ... They are re-activists. People bring problems to lawyers and lawyers decide whether they can be fitted into some sort of legal framework in which a legitimate challenge can be taken.

I can understand the government is less than pleased when challenges are made to decisions they have taken frequently after very considerable deliberations … But it doesn’t seem to me that attacking lawyers who provide the services that allow those challenges to be made … is particularly profitable.

More: https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/oct/19/uk-needs-judges-to-limit-government-power-says-lord-kerr

David Gauke, the former Conservative justice secretary:

Conservatives are supposed to believe in the rule of law. Lawyers – ‘lefty’ or otherwise – are essential in upholding the rule of law. Conservative cabinet ministers should cease to speak of them as enemies of the people.

More: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/oct/20/former-tory-justice-secretary-condemns-government-attacks-on-lefty-lawyers

 

shawn mach
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Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales in evidence last week to the Justice Select Committee:

I have said before, and I have said it publicly, that the vitality and independence of the legal profession is an essential hallmark of a society governed by the rule of law. Lawyers have a duty to act fearlessly for their clients, subject always to their overriding professional obligations and duties to the courts. They should not be subject to criticism for doing so. A general attack on the legal profession, in my view, undermines the rule of law.

The Lord Chancellor put it well last month, if I may respectfully say so, when he said: “Sometimes a lawyer will find the arguments they advance to be at odds with the Government of the day—but it frankly is a strength of our mature democracy underpinned by the Rule of Law that such debates can occur.” I agree. If the argument advanced by a lawyer is a good one, it will be accepted by the court. If it is a bad one, it will not be accepted.

Many years ago, another Lord Chancellor said in the context of Ministers being disappointed with the outcome of litigation: “Maturity requires that when you get a decision that favours you, you do not clap, and when you get one that goes against you, you do not boo.” You will remember that that was Lord Irvine. In my view, that was a wise observation.

https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/1189/html/

 

nevip
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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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nevip - 23 November 2020 10:33 AM

Again!

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/nov/22/ministers-take-swipe-again-at-lawyers-with-accusation-of-playing-politics

Quite strange and telling that they’ve accompanied the piece with a picture of Priti Patel, even though in this case, she isn’t mentioned once in the actual story.