Blog Archive

Saturday 12 August 2023






To the Prime Minister:

The Society of Black Lawyers

The Society of Asian Lawyers

The Association of Muslim Lawyers

Operation Black Vote

Blak Sox 

Barac UK

We believe the Government’s inflammatory comments calling immigration lawyers “lefty lawyers" is inexcusable when these lawyers have a duty to protect and act in the best interests of their clients.

The Government rhetoric about “lefty lawyers” is increasing the risk of harm to those individuals. We find it abhorrent that a top Human Rights Lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie is now being labelled in the press as the lawyer who is “stopping the boats.”

It has been quoted that the Government sent out a dossier that contained many inaccuracies to the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Express. The Immigration Minister, Robert Jenrick went as far as giving a radio interview where he repeatedly referred to advisers who were blocking the immigration process but bizarrely wouldn’t name the person, yet he told the presenter to read the article. This act can be described as 'adding fuel to the fire' as the Government has shown that they condone the contents of the article.

The Government has repeatedly behaved in an appalling manner, fanning hatred against minorities by repeatedly making statements by its ministers which just do that - fuel hatred. 

Why does the Conservative Government think it appropriate to target a woman who is reported to have taken security precautions since the articles were published after receiving “an ominous” email. This is appalling and shameful behaviour for a government that says it protects its citizens.

Ms McKenzie spends 90% of her time working on Windrush cases and has also sat on the independent advisory group with Sajid Javid regarding the Windrush Learned Lessons Review. So why the demonisation of Ms McKenzie? 

The reality is that this Government and its race baiting Home Secretary is presiding over a failed system with a backlog of 166,100 cases awaiting a first decision, with a success rate of 76% of cases due to international persecution. The vast majority of migrants are lawfully entitled to claim asylum under the Geneva Convention and have an 80% plus chance of being successful.  Over 50% of cases refused by the Home Office are allowed on appeal by Immigration Judges.

We welcome the Law Society and Bar Council’s statement in relation to this but more needs to be done to protect human rights lawyers that are abiding by the rule of law and are acting in the best interests of their clients. We stand with Jacqueline McKenzie and all the other lawyers that are lawfully helping those that are vulnerable and traumatised by Government policies that sometimes infringe on their human rights.

Peter Herbert O.B.E, Chair, Society of Black Lawyers states:

"As a former Immigration Judge the targeting of Jacqueline McKenzie is a libellous and dangerous attack on her professional integrity. The Rwandan deportation scheme has been declared unlawful by the Court of Appeal. Anyone who knows the Geneva Convention is aware this Government policy has nothing to do with "stopping the boats" but all about diversionary "culture war" rhetoric designed to avoid discussing a reduction in the huge Tory generated backlog in deciding asylum cases."

Frances Swaine, Solicitor states 

“The rule of law is crucial in a democracy, and fairness and equality are the basis for society. Where central government + media attack an individual lawyer for upholding the rule of law, this is dangerous for the individual, and for the rest of us.” 

Zita Holbourne, Chair of BARAC UK – Human Rights Campaigner states:

“Jacqueline McKenzie is a highly respected senior and experienced lawyer who has done important work in the quest for justice, representing vulnerable people facing the worse types of discrimination and human rights abuses. Her work on the Windrush Scandal is to be commended. This atrocious attack by the Government is irresponsible, putting Ms McKenzie at risk of danger and is racist in intent. All people are entitled to representation in the judicial system and this targeting of Ms McKenzie and other lawyers representing racialised people in human rights cases will not be tolerated."

Yours sincerely, 

Viv Ahmun Founder ( Blaksox)

Peter Herbert OBE (Barrister and retired judge)

Zita Holbourne Barac UK (Chair) 

Lee Jasper Chair (Alliance for Police Accountability)  

Attiq Malik (Society of Asian Lawyers) 

Frances Swaine Solicitor 

David Weaver Chair (Operation Black Vote)


For further information please contact:

D Peter Herbert OBE – SBL 07973 794 946

Lee Jasper 07984181797

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