Northern Ireland news

Law Society berates Boris Johnson for 'sinister and insidious' assault on the rule of law

President of the Law Society Rowan White said solicitors `are entitled to expect better of the Prime Minister'

PRIME Minister Boris Johnson has been berated for "a sinister and insidious" assault on the rule of law by the head of Northern Ireland's largest professional body.

During the Conservative Party conference Mr Johnson referred to immigration solicitors and barristers as "the lefty human rights lawyers" - a remark which echoed a Home Office video released on social media site Twitter criticising "activist lawyers" for allegedly frustrating the department’s efforts to deport people with no right to remain in the UK.

President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland - which represents solicitors - Rowan White said it was "deeply troubling to hear the Prime Minister repeat the Home Secretary’s recent attack on so-called `lefty lawyers' for representing refugees and asylum seekers.

"Politicians' ill-chosen words not only expose lawyers to the risk of harm but also serve to undermine respect for the Rule of Law in a sinister and insidious way," he said.

"I think we are entitled to expect better of the Prime Minister."

In England and Wales the Bar Council and the Law Society have warned such rhetoric from politicians "in countries where lawyers are unable to do their job for fear of intimidation the rule of law is weakened. The consequences are a society that becomes less safe, less stable and less fair".

Labour shadow justice secretary, David Lammy described his words as "utterly shameful" and cautioned they "put lawyers at risk of physical and verbal attack".

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