5 times the Johnson government complained about ‘lefty lawyers’

Lawyer-bashing lengthy a staple of No.10 rhetoric

The authorized occupation has pushed again strongly after the Johnson government criticised the work of attorneys.

Wait, haven’t we heard this one earlier than?

Last night’s Bar Council and Law Society statement calling on the PM to “stop attacks on legal professionals” serving to refugees combat elimination to Rwanda appears to have been issued extra in hope than expectation. The cycle of lawyer-bashing adopted by condemnation is fairly acquainted.

1. ‘Activist lawyers’

In September 2020, stung by criticism of her division’s incapability to cease asylum seekers crossing the English Channel by boat, Dwelling Secretary Priti Patel claimed the drawback was that “removals continue to be frustrated by activist lawyers”. A Bar Council tweet hitting again went viral.

A couple of days later, immigration legislation agency Duncan Lewis was attacked by an alleged right-wing extremist. Cavan Medlock, from Harrow in London, has pleaded responsible to 4 offences together with “threatening the receptionist with a knife“. He denies planning to kill a senior solicitor at the agency; a trial is reportedly listed for subsequent month.

2. ‘Lefty human rights lawyers’

Johnson quickly waded in, adopting Patel’s criticism of immigration attorneys to take goal at their colleagues in felony. Chatting with the Conservative Social gathering convention in October 2020, the PM stated that the felony justice system was being “hamstrung by what the Home Secretary would doubtless and rightly call the lefty human rights lawyers and other do-gooders”.

The Regulation Society of England and Wales known as his speech “deeply concerning”; the Bar Council went for “shocking and troubling”.

3. ‘Left-wing criminal justice lawyers’

The PM returned to this theme a yr later, telling LBC’s Nick Ferrari:

“When you look at Labour, you see a party that voted consistently against tougher sentences for serious sexual violent offenders. The Labour opposition has consistently taken the side of, I’m afraid, left-wing criminal justice lawyers against, I believe, the interests of the public.”

Roddy Dunlop QC, head of the Scottish bar, stated: “These attacks on the profession must stop.”

4. ‘Liberal left lawyers’

The government has at all times identified that its plan to present asylum seekers a one-way ticket to Rwanda can be each politically and legally controversial. The settlement signed with the Rwandan government even mentions hostile court docket choices. Talking throughout the native election marketing campaign earlier this yr, Johnson declared that the inevitable legal challenges were ideologically motivated: “yes, of course there are going to be legal eagles, liberal left lawyers who will try to make this difficult.”

This time, Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce replied: “It is misleading and dangerous for the prime minister to name-call lawyers who are doing their job and upholding the law.”

5. ‘Abetting the work of the criminal gangs’

Which brings us to this week, when the first deliberate flight to Rwanda was halted by the courts. Supreme Courtroom President Lord Reed famous in a single such case: “the appellant’s lawyers were performing their proper function of ensuring that their clients are not subjected to unlawful treatment at the hands of the Government.”

Johnson invited cameras into the Cabinet room to complain that the Rwanda plan was “under a huge amount of attack, not least from lawyers who finding ways to unpick it”.

He shortly added: “I love lawyers, many of the people around this table are lawyers.”

However he went on to say that these against the Rwanda coverage have been “abetting the work of the criminal gangs” concerned in taking folks throughout the Channel. Dunlop QC stated that this “has unsurprisingly been widely understood as referring to the legal profession”, and (once more) called for such attacks to stop.

In a joint assertion, “the Bar Council and Law Society of England and Wales together call on the Prime Minister to stop attacks on legal professionals who are simply doing their jobs”.

Don’t maintain your breath.

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