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‘This has to stop’: Legal aid lawyers report receiving online threats after vilification by politicians and press

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Legal aid firm Duncan Lewis says it’s getting ‘threatening messages’ after hostile coverage

One of the country’s biggest legal aid firms has warned that its lawyers are receiving threatening messages after being monstered by politicians and the press for representing asylum seekers.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors says that its lawyers “receive abhorrent and threatening messages online daily for simply trying to do their job”.

In a statement hitting back at recent criticism in the right-wing press, the firm also says that criticism of its legal aid earnings are “misleading” and “fuels the anti-lawyer narrative”.

Lawyers working with people trying to claim asylum in the UK are increasingly concerned about their personal safety. The political controversy over asylum seekers crossing the English Channel in small boats has led Home Secretary Priti Patel to lash out at “lefty lawyers” who take legal action to stop people being kicked back out again without proper consideration of their claim.

The general criticism by politicians has been echoed by attacks on specific law firms in the press. One small outfit was attacked in the Sun for “shamelessly touting” its rates for fighting deportation cases — despite the Law Society requiring immigration solicitors to publish their rates under price transparency rules.

An article in last week’s Mail on Sunday took Duncan Lewis to task for earning £55 million in legal aid over three years. Of that, an average of £15 million a year was for civil cases like immigration. The paper described the sum as a “staggering bonanza“.

But Duncan Lewis points out that it is the largest civil legal aid provider in the country. In a statement released last night, the firm said that it handles 20,000 cases a year, including 7,500 on immigration and asylum.

It added: “The fees that we receive are predominantly cases that are paid by way of a fixed fee on a remuneration rate that is set by the government which, despite inflation and rising operational costs, has not been increased in real-terms in over 20 years”.

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The Mail on Sunday does not mention how it got the numbers in the first place, but on the very same day the Sunday Times reported figures on legal aid for immigration firms provided by “Patel’s team”. The Home Secretary then gave her “lefty lawyers” speech that afternoon.

Duncan Lewis also accuses the government and the press of “rhetoric which creates hatred” of immigration lawyers. Its statement says:

“We are now seeing our lawyers experience abusive behaviour and receive abhorrent and threatening messages online daily for simply trying to do their job and be a voice for the most vulnerable: victims of torture, victims of trafficking and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. This has to stop.”

Earlier this week, a human rights barrister told the Guardian “I’m worried for my safety, I’ve not been before; other lawyers have told me they are worried too”.

Law Society President Simon Davis has warned that “slinging insults at lawyers undermines the rule of law in an area where views are already hotly held on all sides and risks leading to verbal abuse and to lawyers being physically attacked for doing their job”.

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15 Comments

Tim

The government is a disgrace!

.

Appalling

The English Are Sick Of Moaning Lefties

Time to cut off legal aid for immigration cases, and definitely for all asylum applications where the applicant cannot prove they legally entered the UK as the first foreign country on their journey from their original domicile. People who sneak into the UK in lorries do not merit a penny of taxpayer funds paid for by hardworking Brits.

Al

I didn’t know I didn’t have to pay taxes as a non-Brit. Will be applying for 30 years rebate this afternoon.

Lefty Lawyer (tm)

The fact that your response to individuals receiving threatening messages is anything other than condemning said messages shows your priorities are wildly off kilter.

PS

To be fair, it’s the HRA that needs to be corrected and it is the legislatures job to change it.

The cunts representing the many fraudulent applications for asylum are conscious that this is the case, yet are indiscriminately exploiting the law whilst stabbing their fellow countrymen in the back in order to line their own pockets.

If you are a ‘lefty lawyer’ who is ‘working’ on these cases, you are a fucking disgrace to your country and frankly deserve a good hiding. How many more people will be encouraged to make a perilous journey ‘fleeing’ an already safe country because of your successes in supporting them? You complete and utter morons.

Darren

This is the worst government in living history. Absolutely disgraceful and makes me ashamed to be British.

Who gives a f**k

Yayyyyyyyyyyy.

What is wrong with people

Imagine threatening a legal aid lawyer!?

Barry

Lawyers are acting within guide lines
The legal add is not given for free
The lawyers has worked for it within the guide lines of the UK law
May be the government should not break the UK law then us the tax payers would not have to pay these lawyers
So who are the culprits ?

Not Barry

Legal aid is given for free from the perspective of the party seeking to claim immigration rights. If people want to stay in a country that is not their homeland they should pay for that privilege themselves. I might see an exemption for asylum claimants with a documented legal point of entry into the UK as the first state entered since the claimant left their state of primary domicile but only with strong prima facie evidence of good grounds to claim asylum.

impartial bystander

oh you ‘might’ see an exemption? how generous of you. now go clean behind your fridge some more.

Judge

Government needs to be fair
Or change the law

Why are they making false allegations

So called lefty lawyers are correcting the government officials who seems to be crooks

Kev

Quite a few people in here seem to be happy their tax money is being diverted from other places to line the pockets of people abusing loopholes in an out dated system. Meanwhile people are using foodbanks in the country, sleeping on the streets, can’t afford to heat their homes and it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

The people who are going to suffer are the middle class do gooders when their savings and pensions are worth nothing. With a crashing and burning economy, the people who live here will have to suffer the consequences while these parasitic leeches can just let go and move on back to their own country with whatever they could squeeze out of the UK before it dies. Our currency is about to be worth nothing very soon. You can’t just print a Trillion worth and expect the value to stay the same… Working class people already know how to survive on the breadline, we’ve been doing it for decades. The rest of you better buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Have you ever seen the picture of the little girl in Germany with the stacks and stacks of cash? You’re trading in a zombie currency.

Concerned

U ok hun?

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