UK News Legal experts demand Priti Patel apologises for asylum seeker comments
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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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England and Wales's spending was the third highest out of nearly 50 countries analysed, and funded the second-highest number of legal aid cases each year. The Council of Europe study torpedoes claims by lawyers in this country that legal aid is underfunded. The council even said other European countries should aim to emulate Britain’s massive investment.In August, the Daily Mail revealed the killers of PC Andrew Harper received more than £465,000 in legal aid.
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.
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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Police said all 22 crew members were safe and well.The raid, likely to have been carried out by members of the Special Boat Service (SBS), was authorised by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel on Sunday night after a tense 10-hour stand-off.
Cavan Medlock, 28, from Harrow in north-west London, allegedly visited the offices of Duncan Lewis Solicitors in Harrow armed with a large knife and threatened to kill a member of staff.
The letter, which was published in, 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.
'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.
'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.
France and UK warned Channel risks becoming 'graveyard for children' after migrant deaths
The deaths of two young children and two adults as they attempted to reach the UK in a migrant boat should be a "wake-up call" for politicians on both sides of the Channel, charity bosses have said. © Reuters A French rescue helicopter lands during the search operation A five-year-old and an eight-year-old were among the four people who died when their boat sank off the coast of Dunkirk in northern France on Tuesday.Another 15 migrants were rescued, with eight suffering hypothermia and two in cardiac arrest, local firefighters said.
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.
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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