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28 August 2020

Rule of law and “activism”

2 mins

On 27 August 2020 the Home Office tweeted a video suggesting that ‘activist lawyers’ were abusing the UK’s immigration laws by delaying and disrupting the return of migrants with no right to remain in the UK. The video was taken down yesterday following anger and complaints from across the legal sector. The language used in the video, which was posted on an official government channel, is both inflammatory and misleading. It has already been pointed out (as it should not have to be) that lawyers work within the legal system, any appeals and challenges to government decisions exist because of the UK’s own laws. A point that some government officials appear to have missed completely.  The ‘us v them’ mentality is very worrying, reminiscent as it is of populist leaders using such rhetoric to stir up hate and dissent. The attempt to demonize and undermine legal professionals doing their job is a disturbing indication of a disregard for the rule of law at the heart of government. The term ‘activist lawyer’ has been used derogatively but in my view, it is an epithet that we should embrace, as activists standing for the rule of law for all. 

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