Legal Profession: Human Rights

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 2nd February 2021.

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Photo of Shabana Mahmood Shabana Mahmood Labour, Birmingham, Ladywood

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has held discussions with the President of the Supreme Court on the appropriateness of UK legal professionals sitting on proceedings in nations where human rights abuses have been noted.

Photo of Shabana Mahmood Shabana Mahmood Labour, Birmingham, Ladywood

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when he expects the consultation with the President of the Supreme Court on the appropriateness of UK legal professionals sitting on proceedings in nations where human rights abuses have been noted to conclude; and whether the findings of that consultation will be published.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The UK Government are committed to ensuring that the UK judiciary and UK lawyers should maintain the highest reputation in upholding the rule of law wherever they may sit on proceedings.

For example, in relation to Hong Kong, UK judges have played an important role in supporting the independence of Hong Kong’s judiciary for many years. We want this to, and hope that it can, continue. The UK judiciary is independent of the Government and it is therefore for them to make an assessment on this. The Lord Chancellor has, however, discussed with Lord Reed how they may jointly monitor developments to enable the Supreme Court to consider carefully the role of their sitting justices, and to assist other serving judges to determine the propriety of their continued service.

No formal consultation with the President of the UK Supreme Court is taking place.

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