Law Society Legal News Summary 22 June 2022

Bill of Rights signals collision course with rule of law

BBC Newsnight (from the beginning) led with our concerns about the announcement of measures to be included in the forthcoming Bill of Rights, due to be published today. Our human rights committee chair Sue Willman provided analysis during the programme.

The BBC (further BBC coverage here), Times (£), FT (£), Guardian (also Guardian analysis quoting our head of public law Ellie Cumbo), Mirror, Talk Radio and around 50 other outlets carry Law Society comment.

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce is quoted saying: “The erosion of accountability trumpeted by the justice secretary signals a deepening of the government’s disregard for the checks and balances that underpin the rule of law.

“The bill will create an acceptable class of human rights abuses in the United Kingdom – by introducing a bar on claims deemed not to cause ‘significant disadvantage’.

“It is a lurch backwards for British justice. Authorities may begin to consider some rights violations as acceptable, because these could no longer be challenged under the Bill of Rights despite being against the law.

“Overall, the bill would grant the state greater unfettered power over the people, power which would then belong to all future governments, whatever their ideologies.

“The disregard for the rule of law the government is repeatedly signalling both at home and abroad – also inherent in this bill – risks inflicting serious harm on Britain’s reputation with trade partners, business and in the international arena.”

Read our press release on the government consultation on the Bill of Rights

Women in law pledge anniversary

The Gazette, Today’s Wills and Probate, Today’s Conveyancer and Today’s Family Lawyer cover the three-year anniversary of the Women in Law Pledge, with quotes from Stephanie.

Barristers direct action 

Stephanie is also quoted in a New Law Journal piece on the direct action being taken by barristers over criminal legal aid and a Gazette article looking at the possibility of solicitors joining the Bar picket line. 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said that the “short-term impact of direct action will pale in significance against the permanent departure of ever more criminal defence solicitors, barristers and law firms if this demanding work in the public interest is not properly rewarded.” 

See our duty solicitor heat maps

Family law advice 

Karen Dovaston, interim chair of our family law committee, gives some expert advice on a Guardian reader’s question.

SQE providing opportunities?

Our annual statistics report is mentioned in a Legal Cheek piece on how the Solicitors Qualifying Exam is providing new opportunities for aspiring lawyers.

Also worth a read: 

  • Why by-elections matter to the PM – BBC
  • Rail strikes: Live updates – Sky News
  • Could solicitors join barrister strike? – Gazette
  • Bill of Rights to give Britain power to overrule European judges – Telegraph (£)

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