Lawyer eco group which sparked cab rank rule row pushes ahead with ‘declaration of conscience’

Avatar photo

By Emily Hinkley on


Projects message on High Court

A group of eco-minded lawyers is pushing ahead with plans not to act for companies supporting new fossil fuel projects or to prosecute peaceful climate change protesters, despite the move attracting criticism from some sections of the legal profession.

Lawyers are Responsible today issued a “declaration of conscience” outside London’s Royal Courts of Justice as part of a peaceful demonstration led by psychoanalyst and author Anouchka Grose.

Legal Cheek reported over the weekend that 140 lawyers had signed the declaration which the group says is prompted by the legal profession’s “service of the fossil fuel industry”.

News of the letter late last week triggered a heated debate across social media, with some lawyers warning that the move would be in breach of the ‘cab rank rule’, a barrister’s professional obligation to represent everyone.

As part of today’s official launch, the group released a video of their message being projected onto the Royal Courts of Justice. You can watch the clip below.

Lawyers are Responsible features some big legal names including Jolyon Maugham KC, Professor Leslie Thomas KC and Paul Powlesland. You may recognise that last name from Legal Cheek’s recent coverage of his stand-off with Northamptonshire police during a protest against tree-felling.

Commenting on the launch, Jodie Blackstock, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers who has signed the declaration, commented:

“As a barrister committed to access to justice throughout my career, I have signed the Declaration because humanity has reached a point from which there is no return. Colleagues brokering these deals need to be aware of the consequences. The Rule of Law promotes and protects the rights of the marginalised. It is subverted when those causing the harm go unchallenged but those raising the alarm are criminalised.”

Further reading: Cab rank rule row rocks the Bar [Legal Cheek]

For all the latest commercial awareness info, news and careers advice:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter

Related Stories

Cab rank rule row rocks the Bar

Does saving the planet trump barristers' professional obligation to represent everyone?

Mar 25 2023 2:39pm

Garden Court barrister arrested after climbing tree to stop felling

Paul Powlesland documented the incident on Twitter

Mar 1 2023 12:55pm

Disbarment for Supreme Court embargo-breaking barrister

Timothy Crosland previously said leak of Heathrow runway ruling was necessary to 'protest the deep immorality' of the court’s decision

Jan 23 2023 8:55am