Louis MacWilliam, Head of Immigration at Truth Legal, has written the letter below to Andrew Jones MP about the recent attacks on immigration lawyers from the Government.
Andrew Jones MP
54 East Parade
12 October 2020
Dear Mr Jones
Attacks on Immigration lawyers
I am writing to express my concern at the recent use of inflammatory comments by the Government in relation to lawyers, particularly immigration lawyers. I hope you will make public your support for both immigration lawyers and the rule of law and caution the Government against further anti-lawyer rhetoric.
By way of background, I am writing to you as Head of Immigration at Truth Legal Solicitors. We are a Harrogate local law firm representing clients from various backgrounds across different areas of law, including immigration law. I have specialised exclusively in immigration law since 2008 and am also a part-time visiting lecturer in immigration law.
You will no doubt be aware that the Home Secretary has increasingly laid the blame for what Mrs Patel describes as a ‘fundamentally broken asylum system’ at the feet of immigration lawyers. Both she and Mr Johnson have described immigration lawyers as ‘activist lawyers’, ‘lefty lawyers’ and ‘do-gooders’. Mrs Patel recently placed immigration lawyers alongside human traffickers, as groups currently propping up the asylum system.
Following news reports from the weekend, these attacks against lawyers can now be seen in a particularly worrying light. We now know that the Home Secretary was put on notice of a violent racist attack against a member of staff at a London law firm. The perpetrator was seemingly a member of the far-right.
It is alarming that the Home Secretary was informed of the attack back on 8 September 2020, when the Law Society informed Mrs Patel of the incident and asked her to refrain from making further attacks on the profession. This incident should have served as a reminder that such inflammatory words have real life, and sometimes violent, consequences for those on the receiving end. Mrs Patel nonetheless proceeded to ramp up the rhetoric in her speech in early October, with the Prime Minister following suit shortly thereafter.
As a Harrogate firm engaged in this highly politicised area of work representing many of your constituents, we would welcome your support. We would further request that you publicly ask the Government to refrain from making any further attacks on our profession. Finally, we would welcome your public commitment to upholding the rule of law and the independence of lawyers.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Solicitor | Head of Immigration