An investigation by the Each day Mail revealed final week that some solicitors have been serving to their purchasers to invent horrific backstories to make use of in bogus asylum purposes. Some migration attorneys have helped to manufacture claims of sexual torture and false imprisonment. One regulation agency explicitly inspired certainly one of its purchasers to pose as an asylum seeker, warning that the Residence Workplace would simply ‘ship you again’ if he have been discovered to be an financial migrant.
Responding to the exposé, UK prime minister Rishi Sunak blasted this ‘subset’ of attorneys for ‘propping up a system of exploitation that earnings from getting folks to the UK illegally’. He additionally accused these solicitors of being in cahoots with prison gangs and the Labour Social gathering.
Sam Townend KC, head of the Bar Council, hit again at Sunak final week. Whereas he acknowledged that not all attorneys are ‘past reproach’, he stated the PM’s phrases have been an ‘try and play politics with the authorized career’. He accused Sunak of utilizing ‘damaging rhetoric’ that may undermine ‘the rule of regulation, belief in attorneys and confidence within the UK authorized system’. Sunak’s language is ‘to be deplored’, Townend stated.
Townend’s response is hanging for quite a lot of causes. For one factor, the Bar Council he leads regulates barristers and doesn’t regulate solicitors. That job falls to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which is meant to behave towards solicitors who fail to behave with ‘honesty and integrity’. It stays to be seen whether or not the SRA will act towards these dodgy immigration solicitors. One of many corporations included within the Mail’s investigation has already sacked a employees member who was deemed liable for making up false again tales.
In any case, whether or not the regulator intervenes or not, criticising these attorneys shouldn’t be an ‘assault on the rule of regulation’, as Townend suggests. Making false asylum claims is a perversion of the course of justice. It’s an affront to democracy. It deprives the federal government of the flexibility to correctly implement the UK’s legal guidelines regarding our borders. Whereas it might have been unreasonable for Sunak guilty the opposition Labour Social gathering for this downside, he was effectively inside his rights to name out this ‘subset’ of attorneys. Any lawyer who abuses his or her place to propagate lies on this manner needs to be prevented from being a lawyer ever once more.
Worse nonetheless, too many attorneys actually are making themselves the allies of individuals traffickers and prison gangs, as Sunak argues. That is true not simply of these attorneys who’re serving to to make false asylum claims, but in addition these within the public eye who routinely body any proposed change to the present asylum system as an assault on the rule of regulation itself.
Certainly, attorneys have been on the forefront of the opposition to the UK authorities’s Unlawful Migration Act 2023 throughout its passage by way of parliament. There are good grounds to criticise this intolerant regulation, below which migrants who arrive illegally within the UK might be detained, denied entry to attorneys and robotically deported. However attorneys tended to border their political objections as a matter of upholding the rule of regulation. Some went as far as to say that refugees have a ‘proper’ to cross the channel illegally below the Refugee Conference. Clearly, this quantities to what the Bar Council’s Sam Townend would possibly name ‘taking part in politics’ with the regulation. His assault on Sunak suggests he thinks attorneys needs to be free to intervene in politics, however that elected politicians shouldn’t have any proper to answer.
The UK’s asylum legal guidelines desperately want reform. There must be extra honest and authorized routes to permit folks to assert asylum legitimately. However enabling bogus asylum candidates to sport the system will solely undermine the case for a extra beneficiant coverage.
The actions of those dodgy attorneys quantity to an undemocratic assault on justice. Main attorneys and their representatives, just like the Bar Council, needs to be criticising asylum fraud within the strongest attainable phrases. It’s these attorneys, not the federal government, who’re undermining belief within the regulation.
Luke Gittos is a spiked columnist and creator. His most up-to-date e-book is Human Rights – Illusory Freedom: Why We Ought to Repeal the Human Rights Act, which is revealed by Zero Books. Order it right here.
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