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Wednesday
May272015

Public Support for Haldane VP Phil Shiner

The Haldane Society welcomes the public show of support for Phil Shiner set out in The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-likened-to-vladimir-putin-by-leading-human-rights-lawyers-over-treatment-of-phil-shiner-10270027.html).

Haldane Society Vice President Phil Shiner has come under constant attack from the government for the work that he and his firm have done attempting to hold the government to account in many different spheres.  The public show of support from senior lawyers, published in The Indepedent, sets out that the government's attacks are an attack on the whole justice system, and the role of lawyers.

Bill Bowring, professor of law at Birkbeck College, London, International Secretary of the Haldane Society, and member of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales commented: “I think the present government attacks on him are outrageous, and would not be out of place in Putin’s Russia.”

And Dame Helena Kennedy QC, another Vice President of the Haldane Society, commented: “Free societies need lawyers like Phil Shiner...unless the state is held to account by fearless lawyers, bad conduct will be covered up and terrible injustices take place.” She added: “I would rather a dedicated determined lawyer occasionally got it wrong than see the legal profession bullied into passivity so that power can strut its stuff with impunity.”

Tuesday
May122015

Criminal Bar Association Ballot on Direct Action

All CBA members should have received the CBA Chairman's Message last week from Tony Cross QC. 

In this incredibly important email, the CBA Executive agrees that we are now in a "watershed moment". The damage of the new Duty Provider Scheme (the "two-tier contracts" issue) is outlined, a policy which endangers access to representation, the quality within the solicitor branch of the profession, and ultimately the independent criminal Bar by reducing the number of duty contracts from 1600 to no more than 527. 

It therefore asks its membership the following "yes or no" question:

"Would you support action, 'No returns' and 'Days of Action' if the new government decides to proceed with the Duty Provider Scheme, reducing the number of solicitor providers by at least two thirds?"

This is a question referring to the actions of the Bar and does not refer to collective action with solicitors. However, this is not merely an issue which only affects solicitors. We remind independent criminal barristers of their unique position within the criminal justice system, which made the "no returns" action so successful. The CLSA and the LCCSA will support criminal barristers in this action. 

For any of you with doubts left as to whether this is a fight only for solicitors, even the CBA has stated that the two-tiered scheme will "destroy the quality of legal representation within the Criminal Justice System", that  "[t]he most able and committed young lawyers will have no future, and the independent bar will collapse."

We know that the UK is going to be hit hard by the next 5 years of a Tory government and that justice will be hit just as hard with Michael Gove as the new Lord Chancellor. Now is the time to rally and to take direct action to save legal aid. Return to No Returns! Save Legal Aid. If not you, who? If not now, when?

We urge all of our Haldane members who are also members of the CBA to vote YES HERE(We remind you that only CBA members can vote.)

The closing deadline to vote is 5.00pm Tuesday 19 May 2015. Please vote early so you do not forget!

If you are a practising criminal barrister at the Bar of England and Wales and you wish to join the CBA in order to vote in this consultation survey, please contact Aaron Dolan at aaron.dolan@criminalbar.com immediately to join or re-join the CBA.

Tuesday
Apr282015

IADL Webinars Programme 2015

Logo of the International Association of Democratic LawyersThe Haldane Society is affiliated to the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, our global sister organisation.  We present here an invitation from IADL to join and participate in a series of webinars focussing on current and crucial issues within international law.  Presented by legal experts from the world over, the aim of these unique webinars is to provide a progressive perspective which can help us to use the law to develop our individual and collective struggles.

A schedule of webinars is found below. It is recommended that you visit the IADL Facebook page to keep up to date on when and how to join them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/iadlyouth/

28 April - Anti terrorism law, turkish CHD trials and trial observation training
With Presentations from members of CHD, IADL and ELDH

Mid June - from Geneva HRC - Presentation on Ukraine and the Kurdish
region

26 June UTC 3.45 AM - Presentation from the Conference of Lawyers in the Asia Pacific
(COLAP)
Broadcasting from Commission 1 on the Right to Peace

Mid July - International Tribunal on HR violations in the Philippines -
broadcast from Washington

Late October - Presentation from the National Lawyers Guild (US) national
conference

Late November - IADL/Haldane Society International Women’s Conference
from London

Early December - IADL Conference on the 70th anniversary of the UN Charter

Thursday
Apr162015

Haldane Condemns the Arrest of 5 Chinese Feminists

Thursday
Apr092015

Solidarity with Iranian Political Prisoners: Mayday Protest

Download the leaflet (PDF).

The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers supports the protest against the theocratic Iranian regime's brutal assaults on labour activists.  The protest will be held on Friday 1 May 2015 at 6pm-8pm at the Iranian Embassy, 16 Princes Gate, London, SW7 1PT.