ice cream

He's didn't want to come anyway.


Lawyers attacked by Boris Johnson for representing asylum seekers have been offered a free meal at a top London restaurant, as they deal with far-right hatred and even death threats.

Under the government's new scheme, applications for some asylum seekers can be processed in Rwanda, where, if approved, the migrants can stay with up to five years' access to education and support.

Lawyers working to prevent their clients getting deported to Rwanda have been accused by the prime minister of "abetting the work of criminal gangs". 

"They are, I’m afraid, undermining everything that we’re trying to do to support safe and legal routes for people to come to the UK and to oppose the illegal and dangerous routes", Johnson told a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The Bar Council and the The Law Society issued a joint statement condemning Johnson's anti-lawyer rhetoric and called on the prime minister "to stop attacks on legal professionals who are simply doing their jobs".

"It is misleading and dangerous for the prime minister to suggest lawyers who bring such legal challenges are doing anything other than their job and upholding the law. Anyone at risk of a life-changing order has a right to challenge its legality with the assistance of a lawyer, who has a duty to advise their client on their rights", they said.

Lawyers representing some of the migrants told RollOnFriday they had received "far right attention" including death threats. "I’ve never experienced anything like it", said one solicitor. "I’ve been receiving death threats, threats like, 'Wait till we get you'. It’s a new experience for me, I never thought I’d face this. At least they don't know where I live - just my firm's office".

In a show of support for the besieged lawyers, Imad's Syrian Kitchen announced on Twitter, "To every 'activist lawyer' who worked tirelessly to stop yesterday's flight from taking off to Rwanda, you and a plus one are invited to a free dinner at our restaurant". The Soho establishment's chef, Imad Alarnab, was himself a refugee who arrived in London in 2015 after fleeing Syria.

Qays Sediqi of BHD Solicitors, which represents two of the migrants who were due to be flown from to Rwanda this week, told RollOnFriday, "Imad’s offer is just lovely and it gives us a boost to know that there are people supporting us. Everyone has a right to legal advice – that’s the beauty of the British legal system". 

Toufique Hossain, the Director of Public Law at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, said, "We know first hand how delicious the food is there and how personal this all is for Imad, given what he himself has gone through. It's a lovely gesture but we warn him, some members of the legal team eat a lot!"

In fact, lawyers have already begun turning up on Alarnab's doorstep. "Our team of dedicated lawyers were working most of the weekend and late into Tuesday night", said Matthew Davies, Managing Partner of Wilson Solicitors. "We were in court just before 10pm trying to get an injunction and the European Court of Human Rights issued one at 9.58pm – two minutes before the deadline set by the Home Office. So we had no time to eat and our team is now very hungry". 

Although favourable, their review suggests the Kitchen's marketing team got ahead of its serving staff:

"Despite it being a Wednesday night, Imad’s spacious restaurant was packed to the rafters... Imad himself wasn’t there, and his staff seemed somewhat nonplussed by the suggestion that some lawyers were there to claim their free meal. Counsel was unavailable to make oral representations but some solicitor advocacy and a bundle of documentary evidence managed to seal the deal, albeit it was an hour before the table was available. The food was worth every minute of the wait. Taking up the waiting staff’s suggestion of a selection of substantial 'starters' and a couple of main dishes, the meal was truly excellent, enjoyed in a buzzing, friendly atmosphere." 

Davies said gestures like Alarnab's "make the work worthwhile, especially given the hostile environment we work in and the low legal aid rates that we get paid. Most importantly our clients did not get removed and will not now be removed until the courts have ruled on the lawfulness of the policy".

Johnson did not respond to a request for comment, or the suggestion that he match Alarnab's offer and host the lawyers for dinner at Downing Street.


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Comments

Wayward Solicitor 17 June 22 08:37

Hats off to Imad - I shall come for a paid dinner with my plus one to support his initiative.

Not suprised 17 June 22 09:12

Ah yes... asylum seekers.. seeking asylum from that well known hellscape of northern France. Shame there isn't a more accurate term that would describe the legality of their migration.. oh well.

When did the editorial staff of ROF swap with Legal Cheek? 

 

Anonymous 17 June 22 09:38

Imads (just off Regent street) menu & google reviews look superb. i trust they won't serve Ms P Patel! 

Gobblepig 17 June 22 09:52

I see that RoF is finally letting free its Brexiteer soul in asserting that all migrants fleeing the anti-democratic oppressive hell-hole that is the EU should be classed as asylum-seekers.

Anonymous 17 June 22 09:59

This is unfair as these people have lied so much just to stay and the people that defend them are supporting the criminal gangs that smuggle them in.
An honest person wouldn't enter the UK illegally in the first place.

Most countries deport illegal immigrants back to their home countries, the UK is more enlightened then that and instead send them to a safe country instead.
And making comments like they don't know where I live is adding fuel to the fire and it only takes one person to follow them when they leave work to make good on his threat (Not supporting violence just stating a fact). 
They are ruining the lives of honest people that live in the UK with their selfish acts in fighting legal deportation and before they say it's for a noble cause they are doing it for money, the same legal aid money that taxpayers give them.
 

Do you want to know what annoys me with the ECHR's decision?
If the ECHR wants to condemn a country over this why not go to the source and point the spotlight at what the French are doing.
The French have done nothing to stop these people leaving in unsafe boats or stop the traffickers despite them begging for money to do so and the UK giving them £54m to stop this at their end, something they haven't done as the number never went down only up.
These same traffickers are said to be abusing the passengers they illegally ferry to the UK.
The French police have stood by and watched them float those homemade and unsafe dinghies before going out to sea and only using force against them if they try to turn around.
All this is happening on French soil and no one batts an eye.
Where's the outrage over that? Where is the European court of human rights when this is happening within an EU country?
I ask this because people are drowning in the channel in these unsafe boats and it can be avoided.
If the European court of human rights stepped in while they were being mistreated in France by traffickers then no one would die in the channel.

anon 17 June 22 10:27

@9:59 - all valid points, but nothing to do with the article. they are entitled to legal representation, and their lawyers should not face threats for providing that representation. 

Technilour Dreamcoat 17 June 22 10:44

I too will be looking to book Imads for large parties as a show of support. Well done to all the lawyers who worked tirelessly in getting those migrants off that flight, even when the English courts failed to support them.

anonymous 17 June 22 11:13

@anon 9:59 - walk a mile in their shoes and there are high chances that you would be risking your life for the chance of a proper life in a very similar way, otherwise what would be the point of living day to day in fear and experiencing the unspeakable things a lot of them have experienced. Whether Rwanda is safe is debatable and the whole reason why the flights are controversial in the first place; there will be a number of LGBTQ+ people fleeing certain countries only to be deported to Rwanda which has an interesting record of mistreating LGBTQ+ people. Then there's human trafficking in Rwanda, which is so notorious it has its own wikipedia page. The High Court won't even be reviewing the legality of the Rwanda policy until July. Let's not forget that our invasion of Iraq, the arms we have been exporting, our involvement in Afghanistan and Syria have all contributed to the displacement of people in various countries, so some would argue that it is our government's duty to deal with the consequences of this - but instead they are choosing to traffic people themselves in order to wash their hands of these consequences. We take in only a fraction of immigrants taken in by France and other European countries, and yet their governing systems and healthcare systems aren't crumbling, so there's only so many times that you can blame immigrants for poor government and poor quality of life for a country's citizens. Time to open our minds and see beyond the privilege. I'm sure those poor souls who almost got displaced (again) by that flight are finally feeling a semblance of relief that the ECHR was willing to lend an ear to listen to them and treat them like the human beings that they are.

Anonymous 17 June 22 11:21

All a bit pearl clutchy isn't it?

It's hardly an 'attack' to say that the relentless efforts to prevent anyone from ever being deported from the UK, no matter who they are and how they got here, are undermining the government's efforts to create a system that has at least some ability to look like one that isn't giving out free visas for anyone who arrives.

Fair enough they are all individually "just doing my job, guv" but don't be surprised when the public lose their patience with a system that seems impotent to ever say No.

Because lose it they will, and that's when the lack of any kind of restraint by this wing of the legal profession will result in a government that bins ECHR membership, international treaties, and all the rest of it, in order to give a frustrated electorate a system that actually works.

Possibly worth a thought during the jubilant free dinner.

Oh my 17 June 22 11:53

How many of the lefty brigade on here hiding behind the illegal immigrants rights to a lawyer (which I accept whole heartedly) were the same lot gnashing their teeth at the Chinese state and Russian oligarchs being offered the same opportunity.

It seems the bleeding hearts are selective as to which foreign criminal groups they want to represent.

Any lawyer should represent any of the illegal immigrants through the process to the best of theit ability, but its unfathomable how they can celebrate what is ultimately a victory for people smugglers and will only turn the public further toward anti immigration policies and sentiment.

This whole thing was clearly a fulcrum for the government to be able to point and say "see..see why we need to implement new legislation, these metropolitan elites are abusing the system and stopping us doing what we were elected to do".

Is it Bellshill..  maybe, will it be effective, probably.

 

Anonymous 17 June 22 12:09

Abuse of process?

Oh no, I was just doing my job your honour.

Doing all that I can for my client y'see.

Anon 17 June 22 13:24

@11.21

”Fair enough they are all individually "just doing my jobguv" but don't be surprised when the public lose their patience with a system that seems impotent to ever say No.”

Ask yourself honestly - do you have any direct evidence that this system is impotent to say ‘no’ or are you just going on what you read in the papers? The papers only ever report (misreport?) examples of successful appeals rather than the majority who are regularly deported. As a solicitor you have access to a vast array of case reports and articles which would give you a true picture. Don’t waste that opportunity in favour of lazily trotting out newspaper reporting as a evidence of fact or truth.

Anon 17 June 22 13:47

Technically speaking is the group of people issued  with Covid fines at Downing Street ‘a criminal gang’? Should we be stopping their legal representation for fear of abetting them? 

Gobblepig 17 June 22 14:12

[email protected]:13

"what would be the point of living day to day in fear and experiencing the unspeakable things a lot of them have experienced."

They're coming from France, FFS. It's hardly North Korea.

Oh, and you sound like an unbearable, sanctimonious, blinkered twat.

 

Coming over here, taking our 17 June 22 14:32

relationship with the dictator Paul Kagame to the next level. Finally something to thank those refugees for!

Anonymous 17 June 22 15:24

"do you have any direct evidence that this system is impotent to say ‘no’ or are you just going on what you read in the papers? The papers only ever report (misreport?) examples of successful appeals rather than the majority who are regularly deported. As a solicitor you have access to a vast array of case reports and articles which would give you a true picture"

 

Don't just vaguely hint that things aren't as widely reported in the mainstream press. Tell us what you think is being misreported.

If you think the papers are wrong in portraying the immigration system as ineffective, inefficient, and unable to cope with spurious cases,  then please show us why (rather than doing the anti-vax "do yore resurch" routine).

What are total deportations per year and how long does the average unsuccessful asylum case take from start to finish?

If what you say is true, then I am sure that we will be amazed that 'progressive' advocates haven't trotted the stats out far earlier.

Benny Goodman 17 June 22 18:07

Everyone is entitled to their own analysis/political view. But those views should be based on an accurate understanding of the law/factual situation. Some points to note:

(1) A person who comes to the UK by boat and claims asylum on arrival is not (until the very recent changes introduced by legislation) an illegal entrant or 'illegal immigrant' (the former term is defined in law). People had a right under UK law, until the NBA 2022, to claim asylum as soon as they arrive in the UK. 

(2) The Rwanda arrangement is directed only at asylum seekers. Eligibility is based on the Home Office concluding that the claim is inadmissible because the asylum seeker passed through another country. The Home Office does not determine the asylum claim one way or another. In other words, it applies whether the asylum claim is meritorious or not.

(3) 72% of asylum decisions made in 2021 were grants. Google "percentage of successful asylum cases granted" and see gov.uk. Historically I believe about a third of appeals against refusals are successful. 

(4) An asylum seeker who passes through a country or countries before making an asylum claim in the UK is not seeking asylum from the countries they passed through. They could in certain circumstances be returned to such countries subject to certain legal criteria being satisfied even if their asylum claim were made out.

(5) There are a number of principles and mechanisms, in case law, in the immigration rules, and in statute (certification of claims as clearly unfounded with consequences for appeal rights, statutory provisions that direct certain matters in the consideration of Article 8 rights), all of which are directed to limiting the ability of the ECHR and Article 8 in particular to present an obstacle to removal/deportation, particularly in the case of foreign criminals. But it is not easy to see the relevance of those points in relation to the Rwanda arrangements, which are concerned with all asylum-seekers.

(6) Obviously there is a political judgment to be made about the approach to asylum but the factual position is that the UK is not a country that, compared to other countries, accepts a high number of asylum seekers. It is ranked 14th in the EU on a per capita basis. See Commons briefing on asylum statistics of 2 March 2022.

(7) The main reason that asylum-seekers (not economic migrants) have to use people smugglers is because there are no lawful routes to apply for asylum in the UK if you are in the country of persecution. One cannot get a visa to apply for asylum in the UK.  

SecularJurist 17 June 22 18:44

It is a common tactic of tin-pot dictators like Clown ***t Boris and other populist leaders to attack lawyers because they represent the best opposition intellectually. 

Bozo and the tory-fascist party are pandering to to to their lower-class base. Ethics is where there core support lies.

NBA 2022? I haven't watched a game since Jordan retired. 18 June 22 14:48

@Bennygoodman

"(1) A person who comes to the UK by boat and claims asylum on arrival is not (until the very recent changes introduced by legislation) an illegal entrant or 'illegal immigrant' (the former term is defined in law). People had a right under UK law, until the NBA 2022, to claim asylum as soon as they arrive in the UK."

Kindly pick a tense, you seem to be applying old definitions which you state have been amended by statute to current issues.

Are people arriving through illegal means:

A) All asylum seekers as you seem to claim in the first sentence.

B) Illegal entrants as you also seem to claim in your first sentence.

C) A mixture, which would seem to be contrary to both your pre NBA 2022 definition and post definition.

Anonymous 19 June 22 18:36

"other populist leaders to attack lawyers because they represent the best opposition intellectually"

 

Ha ha ha!

The 'best opposition intellectually" indeed.

And you thought that journalists had oversized egos...

Benny Goodman 20 June 22 16:23

NBA 2022 refers to the Nationality and Borders Act 2022. Yes fair point re tenses - comment was being typed in a hurry. It's s.40, which is not actually in force yet (just checked). It should all be present tense. An asylum seeker who claims asylum on arrival is not an illegal entrant and such a person has a right under UK law to claim asylum on arrival.

That is the domestic law position. Don't know what is meant by a person "arriving through illegal means" - not a legal term that I am familiar with. 

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