Legal community gravely concerned: joint statement from the Bar Council and the Law Society
In today's Guardian, immigration solicitor Jacqueline McKenzie has written about her experience earlier this week when Conservative Central headquarters shared a dossier of information about her with the national media.
Nick Vineall KC, Chair of the Bar Council, and Lubna Shuja, President of the Law Society, said:
“The legal community is gravely concerned by the experience of immigration solicitor Jacqueline McKenzie.
“No lawyer should be criticised, or made the subject of a targeted campaign, for doing their job. Everyone is entitled to legal representation, and it is a United Nations basic principle that lawyers should not be identified with the causes of their clients as a result of representing them.
“That is why – as we have said repeatedly – it is wrong to describe lawyers as ‘lefty’ or ‘activist’ simply on the basis of the causes they advocate on behalf of their clients.
“Lawyers who represent their clients are not only doing nothing wrong, they are doing exactly what they are supposed to do in playing their part in ensuring that the rule of law is upheld. Ms McKenzie has been doing exactly what she is supposed to do as an immigration solicitor, acting in the best interests of her clients within the constraints of the law.
“Political leaders know that lawyers represent their clients within the legal framework that parliament creates and CCHQ should seriously reflect on what has happened in this case. Language and actions that unfairly undermine confidence in the independence of the legal professions, and potentially risk the safety of lawyers, will ultimately undermine confidence in our entire justice system and the rule of law.”