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UK News Legal experts demand Priti Patel apologises for asylum seeker comments

15:11  26 october  2020
15:11  26 october  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Lawrence Collins, Alan Moses, John Dyson, Lord Dyson posing for a photo: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

A group of over 800 former judges and senior legal figures have signed a letter to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary Priti Patel calling on them to apologise for their 'hostility' towards the legal profession.

The letter, which has been co-signed by three former justices of the UK Supreme Court along with 80 QCs and hundreds of barristers and solicitors, is in response to 'recent attacks, made by the Home Secretary and echoed by the Prime Minister, on lawyers seeking to hold the Government to the law'.

In August, the Home Office was forced to abandon using a video which accuses 'activist lawyers' representing migrants of trying to disrupt the asylum system after a barrage of complaints.

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Earlier this month at the Conservative Party online conference, Boris Johnson ramped up the rhetoric in the battle between the Government and the justice system.

Priti Patel posing for the camera: More than 800 former judges and senior legal figures have signed a letter to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary Priti Patel calling on them to apologise for their 'hostility' towards the legal profession © Provided by Daily Mail More than 800 former judges and senior legal figures have signed a letter to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary Priti Patel calling on them to apologise for their 'hostility' towards the legal profession

In his keynote speech the Prime Minister said the Tories were 'stopping the whole criminal justice system from being hamstrung by what the Home Secretary would doubtless - and rightly - call the lefty human rights lawyers, and other do-gooders'.

Last week, a man charged with preparing an act of terrorism after being accused of carrying out a racist attack at a firm of immigration lawyers.

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The letter, which was published in The Guardian, states: '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.

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: In his speech at Tory party conference, the Prime Minister said he was 'stopping the whole criminal justice system from being hamstrung by what the Home Secretary would doubtless - and rightly - call the lefty human rights lawyers, and other do-gooders' © Provided by Daily Mail In his speech at Tory party conference, the Prime Minister said he was 'stopping the whole criminal justice system from being hamstrung by what the Home Secretary would doubtless - and rightly - call the lefty human rights lawyers, and other do-gooders'

'We invite both the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister to behave honourably by apologising for their display of hostility, and to refrain from such attacks in the future.'

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Among the former judges are Lords Collins, Dyson and Walker, who recently left the supreme court, as well as onetime appeal court judges Sir Richard Buxton, Sir Anthony Hooper, Sir David Keene, Sir Alan Moses and Sir Stephen Sedley

A government spokesperson said: 'The government rejects the underlying insinuation in this letter and is clear any form of violence is unacceptable.

a person wearing a costume: Sir Anthony Hooper © Provided by Daily Mail Sir Anthony Hooper Alan Moses wearing a suit and tie: Sir Alan Moses © Provided by Daily Mail Sir Alan Moses

'Lawyers play an important role in upholding the law and ensuring people have access to justice. They are however not immune from criticism.'

It came as the Mail On Sunday revealed human rights lawyers are searching for asylum seekers to sue the Home Office in a group legal claim expected to cost taxpayers millions of pounds.

Thousands of people detained at any point in the three years to March 2017 could have a case, prompting controversial law firm Leigh Day to begin seeking potential clients, reassuring them of ‘a good prospect of success’ and adding that taxpayer-funded Legal Aid may be used to fund their claim.

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The looming legal action is a blow to Home Secretary Priti Patel, who recently declared the asylum system to be ‘fundamentally broken’ and lambasted ‘Lefty lawyers’.

It stems from a landmark Supreme Court ruling last November that the Home Office had unlawfully locked up five asylum seekers.

a bench in front of a building: The Mail on Sunday understands the Home Office is close to agreeing damages for the five asylum seekers involved which could spark a flood of similar claims © Provided by Daily Mail The Mail on Sunday understands the Home Office is close to agreeing damages for the five asylum seekers involved which could spark a flood of similar claims

The five, who arrived in Britain illegally from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, had been detained under an EU regulation which states that asylum seekers should claim asylum in the first EU country they reach.

Under the rules, only those deemed to be at ‘significant risk of absconding’ should be imprisoned, but five Supreme Court judges ruled Britain did not have proper policies in place to determine whether individuals posed this risk.

It is believed the Home Office is close to agreeing damages for the five asylum seekers involved which could spark a flood of similar claims.

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