More than 800 lawyers – including three retired Supreme Court justices, five retired appeal court judges and a former Director of Public Prosecutions – have co-signed an open letter calling on ministers must to ‘end their attacks on lawyers’. The letter which appears in today’s Guardian follows a series of attacks by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel and Prime Minister Boris Johnson on ‘lefty lawyers’ and human rights ‘do-gooders’ – see here and here.
Signatories include Lawrence Collins, retired justice of the supreme court; John Dyson, retired justice of the supreme court and former master of the rolls; Robert Walker, retired justice of the supreme court; Richard Buxton, retired lord justice of appeal; Anthony Hooper, retired lord justice of appeal; David Keene, retired lord justice of appeal; Alan Moses Retired, lord justice of appeal; Stephen Sedley, retired lord justice of appeal; Theodore Huckle, former counsel general for Wales; Ken Macdonald, ormer director of public prosecutions; and Helen Mountfield, principal of Mansfield College, University of Oxford.
Ministers must end their attacks on lawyers
The undersigned are practising barristers (some working for central and local government), solicitors, legal academics and retired judges.
We are all deeply concerned at recent attacks, made by the home secretary and echoed by the prime minister, on lawyers seeking to hold the government to the law.
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.