Regulatory policy

Westminster Weekly Update: Home Secretary defends Rwanda treatment policy

One thing you must do

Visit our London Legal Walk fundraising page for the London Legal Walk 2022.

We are undertaking the 10 kilometer walk on Tuesday, June 28 in support of free frontline legal advice services.

What do you want to know

1. Minister of Interior defends treatment policy in Rwanda

The Home Secretary made a statement in the House of Commons on Wednesday June 15, regarding last minute injunctions from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to stop the first offshore treatment flights.

In her statement at home, Priti Patel said it was an important point that the ECHR had not ruled the policy itself was illegal, but that it was still ‘disappointing’ that they stopped flights yesterday.

She went on to say that she is confident that the policy of deporting these refugees to Rwanda is in line with national and international obligations and that the government will move forward.

She was criticized by all opposition parties.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said the policy would not tackle illegal gangs. The somewhat similar Israeli-Rwandan policy had actually increased illegal gangs.

Repeated calls have also been made for the government to stop its attacks on lawyers and judges.

Stuart McDonald, SNP home affairs spokesman, pleaded with the Home Secretary to heed our call, along with the Bar Council to stop attacks on legal professionals who are ‘just doing their job’.

2. Northern Ireland Protocol Bill published

The government published its Northern Ireland Protocol Bill on Monday (June 13).

The bill :

  • provide the basis for the government to change the way the Northern Ireland Protocol works in UK domestic law
  • unapply elements of the protocol, and
  • provide delegated powers to ministers to enact new laws in connection with the protocol for specified “excluded provisions”, including:
    • the movement of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland
    • subsidy control, and
    • governance arrangements (limitation of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice)

In its legal position, the government accepted that passage of the bill would mean it would not meet its obligations under international law.

They argued that the socio-political conditions in Northern Ireland make it necessary to introduce the legislation in order to protect the government’s previous commitments and responsibilities under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

In response to the bill, on Wednesday June 15, the European Commission announced that it had launched an infringement procedure against the United Kingdom “for breach of international law”.

We believe the bill represents a direct challenge to the rule of law by violating international law.

The bill could also threaten the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and risk a breakdown in EU-UK relations, which could lead to a trade war. potential with the EU.

A suspension of the TCA or an increase in trade barriers would be extremely damaging to the legal profession in England and Wales.

We will continue to monitor the progress of the bill and inform Members of its potential consequences to ensure that our members’ ability to work across the EU is not hampered.

3. The Lord Chancellor will increase the fine powers of the SRA

Last month, Labor MP Steve Reed tabled a written question asking the government to outline the steps it has taken to help the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) “ensure law firms comply with the sanctions regime of the government”.

Last week, Justice Secretary James Cartlidge responded to the question by saying Lord Chancellor Dominic Raab had personally intervened to advance plans to increase the SRA’s fine powers, after MPs called to a hardening of the regulator.

We have clearly expressed our concerns about the proposed increase to the Department of Justice.

We have issued a statement noting our disappointment that the SRA is seeking to increase its fine powers by more than 1000% without balancing these changes with appropriate safeguards.

We have highlighted members’ concerns about the SRA acting as investigator, prosecutor and judge, in potentially far more serious and important cases, which are currently before the Independent Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT).

Our President, Stephanie Boyce, said, “We are keen to continue close engagement with the SRA…providing insight into the views and experiences of our members to ensure that SRA proposals are evidence-based, soundly assessed, fair and proportionate.

Coming

We will work closely with MPs and peers to influence a number of bills and inquiries: