Tag Archives: Lawyers

Partygate: should we be asking if Boris Johnson spent public money on lawyers?

Money, money, money: a lawyer has claimed Boris Johnson could have escaped a second Partygate fine by getting ‘lawyered up’ – but if so, who footed the bill? And shouldn’t all these cases have been handled in the same way – the way in which the lowliest civil servant was treated?

A criminal defence lawyer has suggested that Boris Johnson, and possibly other senior Tory politicians, escaped Partygate fines because they employed expensive lawyers to rubbish the evidence.

And Lucinda Nicholls told the I that the Metropolitan Police may also have been swayed by the fact that Johnson is the Prime Minister – putting the lie to the claim that everybody in the UK is equal in the eyes of the law.

Stressing that she could not “state categorically” the reasons for the Met’s deicsion, Lucinda Nicholls, told i: “I think what probably happened is they [the Met] were more susceptible to receiving the information about the circumstances because he was Prime Minister, which would never have happened if you were a member of the public.

Ms Nicholls… added: “I am sure and I know that every single person with the Government, all of the ministers, that were part of the investigation were lawyered up.

“And I know that the amount of money these particular lawyers would have cost, they would have ensured that there was some sort of senior personnel within the police that would have been dealing with this.

“He [Mr Johnson] has the funds available to him to engage with the authorities in order to minimise the risks and negotiate the process. Joe Bloggs on the street doesn’t.”

Does that strike any of you as hugely unfair? If it’s accurate, I think it would be.

It’s also more than a little suspicious, considering how strapped-for-cash Johnson always claims to be.

Should I be making a Freedom of Information request to find out if any public money was spent defending Johnson? And should the police be probed to find out if they really were impartial in their handling of Partygate suspects?

Source: Partygate: Why Boris Johnson escaped with just one fine for Covid breach, according to a legal expert

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Is Priti Patel’s latest pronouncement an attempt to have homeless people murdered?

I’m only using this image because I haven’t got one of her dressed as a Nazi.

‘Dumpy she-Hitler’ Priti Patel is at it again, it seems.

Only a day after it was claimed her attack on “activist lawyers” she said were frustrating the removal of migrants led to a “violent, racist attack” in a London law firm by a knife-wielding man – who actually injured a staffer…

… she is now calling for homeless people to be deported:

Priti Patel has been criticised for allegedly planning to deport homeless people who repeatedly engage in low level crimes.

The home secretary has reportedly asked Home Office officials to discuss new immigration rules that would make it easier to deport rough sleepers who engage in “persistent anti-social or dangerous behaviour”.

It is understood Patel wrote to ministers on Friday to inform them of the plans, according to the Mail on Sunday.

After it was revealed, the scheme was blasted by commentators who warned “somebody is going to end up getting hurt”.

Damn right – somebody is going to get hurt. Most likely, it will be a homeless person (or many), attacked by people of similar mentality to the knife-wielder in the London law firm mentioned above. Or the lawyers trying to stop them being sent to Ascension Island.

And it occurs to me that Priti Patel must know this.

She knows that somebody got hurt after she had a go at “activist lawyers”.

Only an irresponsible (or psychotic), homicidal fascist would then suggest that another societal group should be targeted for deportation in those circumstances.

But that is exactly what she has done.

So it seems to me that the UK now has a Home Secretary who is deliberately trying to incite people to commit the crime of murder.

Source: Priti Patel criticised for ‘planning to deport homeless people’

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Patel resumes refugee deportation – and attacks on ‘activist lawyers’. Why aren’t her own legals on strike?

The Home Office tweet about ‘activist lawyers’ that was released only a week ago. Officials have been barred from using the phrase but the Home Secretary continues to do so.

If I was a lawyer working for the Tory government, I would be on strike from today in solidarity with my “activist” colleagues whose only interest is in ensuring that the UK’s government does not break the law.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, has tweeted that deportations of refugees who came to the UK by small boat have resumed with a flight to Spain.

She stated that this happened in spite of “activist lawyers” – in an act of defiance against those who achieved a ruling from her permanent secretary that the use of the phrase by Home Office officials was inappropriate.

Unfortunately Matthew Rycroft’s pronouncement does not apply to the Home Secretary herself, so she broadcast this on Twitter:

The tweet has provoked a wave of protest, which This Writer expects was exactly what Patel wanted:

Yes, I think it’s what she wanted – because for every tweet in protest, she’ll have roused people like this commenter:

It creates division.

And division allows Tories to act without inhibition – and the rule of law is diminished in favour of Tory dictatorship.

The tweeter who complained about migrants moving into the North of England has received angry replies, meaning that smaller arguments are breaking out, diminishing the larger point against Patel:

You see how it works?

That’s why I say the best response to Patel would be a strike by people in the legal profession working for the government.

But will it happen?

Or are government lawyers far more interested in fat salaries than in upholding the law itself?

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‘Loudmouthed lawyers’ jibe shows it’s the Home Office that doesn’t know when to shut up

Devilish advocate: Priti Patel has set her Home Office against the rule of law.

What unbelievable arrogance from “a government source” – as quoted, we’re told, in The Times.

After the Home Office was forced to withdraw a video tweet referring to “activist lawyers”, that was posted in retaliation after solicitors prevented Priti Patel’s thugs from illegally – mark that word – deporting 23 asylum-seekers without appeal, what did the Tory government have to say for itself?

Here:

“There’s a bunch of particularly loudmouthed lawyers and barristers who seem to spend more time on social media than representing their clients.”

This is arrogant disregard of the rule of law.

Perhaps the “government source” who said this should be named and removed from Whitehall to a place where they can do no more harm.

Ms Patel should be rushing to Whitehall, to deliver a grovelling public apology to the lawyers mentioned – who can all be identified very easily – and to the nation.

Really, she should be resigning as she has clearly allowed standards at the Home Office to fall far below what is expected in a government department.

Not only has this matter been a scandal but it has also been revealed that the Windrush Compensation Scheme is being bungled because Home Office officals have an “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race”.

Patel is responsible; unlike wealth, this is an instance where the “trickle-down effect” really does work and, as the novelist Henry Fielding implied in the 1740’s, the poison seeps down from the top.

But Patel won’t go. Her kind believe they are entitled to their bare-faced, flaunting immorality.

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Home Office deletes “fascist Dad’s Army” ‘migrants’ clip released after it was forced to abandon deportation flight

It seems there was more to the Home Office’s video clip about “activist lawyers” than met the eye – and that was already pretty bad.

Apparently the government had been forced to abandon a deportation flight to Spain after last-minute legal challenges meant all 23 passengers had to be allowed off the plane.

It seems that HO had tried to rush through the deportations fast, in order to deny these asylum-seekers the right to appeal; that would be breaking the law. All the lawyers did was insist that these people be allowed their legal rights.

In response, the government department released the tweet attacking “activist lawyers” who “delay and disrupt returns”.

So it seems the line saying, “Soon we will no longer be bound by EU laws and can negotiate our own return arrangements,” was an attempt to taunt those lawyers.

That was a mistake. It provoked complaints – some of them from the lawyers who carry out these actions.

So now the tweet has come down and HO permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft has issued instructions that the term “activist lawyers” should not be used again.

The most effective complaint seems to have come from the economist Jonathan Portes. This Site has huge respect for this gentleman, going back to discussions of the UK economy here many years ago.

He posted a thread showing part of the response he received:

Later, he added this:

By this time, some of the lawyers concerned had already taken to Twitter to put their side of the story across – and it makes interesting reading:

It’s another own-goal for Boris Johnson’s Tory government – and the Home Office that Johnson insists must be run by Priti Patel.

Source: Home Office wrong to refer to ‘activist lawyers’, top official admits | Home Office | The Guardian

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Workfare ruling leaves too many questions unanswered

Cait Reilly, the graduate who was forced to leave her voluntary work in a museum to stack shelves at Poundland on the government’s Workfare scheme, has lost her case against the government.
Mr Justice Foskitt, at the High Court in London, said, “characterising such a scheme as involving or being analogous to ‘slavery’ or ‘forced labour’ seems to me to be a long way from contemporary thinking”.
What an interesting choice of words!
Back at the turn of the century, contemporary thinking stated that a woman’s place was in the home, and that she must never contradict her husband, take a job, or be allowed the right to vote. A few decades ago, contemporary thinking about homosexuality forced Alan Turing, the Bletchworth Park genius who cracked the Enigma code, thereby hugely boosting the Allies’ chances of winning World War II, to commit suicide.
Contemporary thinking has been responsible for terrible injustices and this is one of them.
I wonder if he really meant “contemporary thinking”, anyway. Did he, in fact, mean it’s a long way from what the government of the day thinks?
The judge ruled that Workfare does not contravene article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits forced labour and slavery.
A friend of mine looked up “slave” in the dictionary and found among its definitions the following: “A person who is forced to work for another against his will” and “A person who works in harsh conditions for low pay”.
I think we can agree that Cait Reilly was made to work at Poundland against her will (we’ll get to the failings of the DWP’s correspondence in a moment) and, while I can’t comment on the conditions, it is certain that her benefit payment was below minimum wage and therefore, by definition, was low pay.
So by dictionary definitions, she was a slave. Perhaps the judge was commenting on the fact that the legal definition needs to be rewritten?
It wasn’t all good news for the government, though. Although this scheme will remain unpaid, it seems it must be totally voluntary, and communications between the DWP and claimants must reflect this. In other words, the DWP must clean up its correspondence to make it clear that claimants can say no.
Those who have already had their benefits removed for refusing Workfare might now be entitled to compensation. Law firm Public Interest Lawyers, who acted for Ms Reilly, said more than 22,000 people had been stripped of their benefits for refusing Workfare by January 2012. By now (August) this figure may have doubled.
The DWP has announced that it will appeal against the decision. A spokesman has been quoted by the Guardian, saying: “We do not believe there is anything wrong with the original letters and we will appeal this aspect of the judgment, but in the meantime we have revised our standard letters.”
This begs the obvious question: If there was nothing wrong with the original letters, why change them?
The saddest fact about the case is that none of the above touches the real problems with Workfare.
It is not the taxpayers’ responsibility to pay the wages of people employed by a private company. If Poundland wants people to stack its shelves, it should hire them at a living wage, rather than ask the government to provide workers and pay them only in state benefits.
Poundland’s annual profit in 2010 was £21,500,000. Split among its 390-odd stores, that’s more than £54,000 – or enough to pay three extra employees, per store, on minimum wage, with cash to spare. Make it a decent, living wage, and that’s still two extra employees (with a lot more cash to spare).
It could be argued that Poundland has been providing a public service for the government by taking on Workfare jobseekers when it didn’t need any more employees. If this is the case, we must ask why Cait Reilly was promised a job interview at the end of it. The fact that the promised interview never happened, I think, also provides our answer: Poundland has been taking advantage of the scheme to get cheap labour.
If that is true, then the company has gained financial benefit from having Ms Reilly – and others on Workfare – stacking its shelves. Poundland has made money from it, so Poundland should pay all those working for the company a decent wage – including those on Workfare who have helped create that profit.
If this does not happen, then no employer in his or her right mind would think of paying the full amount for an employee when they can get them on Workfare instead, and have the taxpayer foot the bill. Workfare is therefore a way of ensuring that the current lack of full-time jobs continues into the future.
At a time when the government is complaining that the benefits bill is too high – and trying to blame that on so-called workshy scroungers fraudulently claiming they are disabled (fraud rate on those is less than 0.4 per cent) – it is insane for ministers to send those on benefits to work for profitable firms at no cost to the employer.