Solidarity with our Turkish comrades

The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, alongside our comrades across Europe, condemn the Turkish Minister of Interior’s ban on the Progressive Lawyers Association (CHD) and offer our solidarity to the Turkish lawyers in their fight for human rights and justice under the present Turkish regime.

The Haldane Society echoes the demand of the ELDH and EDL that the Turkish government respects the professional work and role of lawyers, and complies in particular with Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as Art. 16 and 18 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

We have reproduced below the press release of our European affiliates ELDH and EDL:

On Friday 11th November the Turkish Minister of Interior, announced a three month ban of all activities of the Progressive Lawyers Association (CHD), an organisation affiliated with the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and the Freedom Lawyers Association (ÖHD). Both are also affiliated to the European Association for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH).  The ban is based on art. 11 of the emergency laws.

The Minister is justifying this ban by referring to activities of our Turkish colleagues as a “threat to national security”. The offices of CHD and ÖHD have been sealed.

CHD was founded in 1974 and has 11 branches and more than 3000 members. CHD is presently conducting a campaign against torture in Turkey, an inhumane practice that increased significantly after the attempted coup of July 15 2016 and the intensification of the war against the Kurdish autonomist movement.

This unjustified attack against CHD and ÖHD is a flagrant violation of the freedom of association, the rights of human rights defenders, and the right of arrestees to an effective defence.

We, democratic lawyers and human rights defenders who are participating in the international conference to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations covenants on human rights, vigorously condemn this new attack of the Erdogan administration against its opponents.

We demand that these attacks against lawyers critical of government policies cease immediately, and that the state of emergency be ended forthwith. This governmental action is a pretext for massive violations of the fundamental rights of the Turkish people and their legal representatives.

AGM and Lecture on 13 December 2016

Whitewashing Justice: Race and the Criminal Justice System

The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers invites you to our free public lecture on Whitewashing Justice: Race and the Criminal Justice System. 

Speakers will be:

  • Leslie Thomas QC, leading silk from Garden Court Chambers
  • Marcia Rigg, sister of Sean Rigg who was killed by police.

Tickets do not need to be pre-booked, but you can sign up and share the event on Facebook.

Annual General Meeting and Elections

We also welcome all members to our AGM which will be held after the lecture. 

The AGM will debate the policy of the Society over the next year, and will elect the Officers and Executive Committee.

If you are interested in submitting motions for debate, or in standing for election, please contact by 10 December 2016 at 6.30pm.  Alternatively, candidates for election who have not been nominated in advance can be nominated in person at the AGM.

Both events will take place at BPP University Law School, 68-70 Red Lion Street, London, WC1R 4NY.


Haldane Society Winter Party 9 December 2016: Tickets Now On Sale!

Tickets On Sale

Tickets are now on sale for the Haldane Society Winter Party.  It will be held on the evening of Friday 9 December 2016 at Garden Court Chambers.

Tickets will be available on the door, but early bird tickets are now available at a discounted rate of £10 (£8 student/unwaged/low waged).

Your ticket price includes unlimited food, drink, and comradeship all evening.

Buy Now

Ticket Type
Name on your ticket

Entertainment Announced!

Along with all food and drink being included in the ticket price, we can now confirm that we will be joined by renowned Marxist Magician Ian Saville.

FOR more than 35 years, Ian Saville has been working his socialist magic and Marxist ventriloquism at clubs, concerts, fundraisers and political benefits.

Combining corny but annoyingly mysterious “How does he do that?” tricks with ventriloquism involving Karl Marx, Bertholt Brecht and William Morris, his act is always thought-provoking and a topical celebration of socialist ideas.

Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women

The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women recently sought submissions from bodies across the globe dealing with the need for a separate legally binding treaty on violence against women with its separate monitoring body. 

The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers and the Haldane Feminist Lawyers made detailed submissions which should assist the Special Rapporteur in determining how to proceed.

Download the submission.

Human Rights Lecture Series: First Dates Announced

Protesting the state: the law on protests and demonstrations: Thursday 27 October 2016, 6.30pm, BPP University Law School

The first lecture of our series will have speakers Jacob Bindman (Garden Court Chambers), Catherine Rose (Haldane Society Legal Observers), and Kevin Blowe (Netpol).

Joint enterprise in the wake of Jogee: Wendesday 23 November 2016, 6.30pm, University of Law

Our series' second lecture will feature speakers Joanne Cecil (Garden Court Chambers) and Gloria Morrison (JENGbA).

Statement on the Aftermath of the Decision to Leave the European Union

Following one of the most bruising and divisive public debates in recent memory, the British public voted to instruct the government to leave the European Union. The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, in recognition of the diversity of opinion among its members, took no official position in the debate, and we have no desire to return to the arguments that dominated the campaign.

The Haldane Society, however, notes with alarm the poisonous atmosphere in which this public debate took place, and expresses its dismay at the way that race and identity was weaponised by both Leavers and Remainers to sway public opinion. This was a campaign that saw Prime Minister David Cameron use the threat of Kent being overrun by refugees[1] to scare voters long before Nigel Farage unveiled one of the most despicable pieces of racist propaganda[2] seen in modern British political history.

Following the vote for Brexit, reports of race hate crimes have peaked at five times pre-referendum levels[3]. This comes as little surprise after an ugly and hostile campaign where the public were encouraged to blame immigrants for their problems. The Haldane Society condemns, in the strongest possible terms, all forms of xenophobia and racism. We express our solidarity with those who are facing an uncertain future and do not feel welcome in the UK (whether born in the UK or not). The Haldane Society urges its members to stand in solidarity with those who are victims of the post-referendum atmosphere.

The Haldane Society further expresses its outrage over the position of the government on the status of EU migrants currently living in the UK. Having been denied their say in the vote, many EU citizens are understandably fearful for their place in the country. Yet, rather than allay their concerns, leading figures in the government have shamefully elected to make their status a bargaining tool in future negotiations with the European Union.[4] 

The Haldane Society recognises the essential contribution that EU nationals make to public life and stands in solidarity with them. We call upon the government to give immediate effect to the expressed will of the House of Commons[5] and guarantee that those exercising their Treaty rights will have their current status and privileges protected, regardless of the outcome of any negotiations with the EU.  

The Haldane Society rejects fascism and racism both on the streets and dressed up in political discourse. We stand for the abolition of all borders and complete free movement of people.  We recognise that immigration controls are racist in themselves and that much of the inequality between nations is as a result of previous and ongoing colonialism, of which western nations such as the UK have greatly benefited. The Haldane Society will continue to campaign to fight the scapegoating of migrants and to fight for true equality as well as to put an end to the UK’s unjust and racist immigration system. 

[1] Jon Stone, “David Cameron says Calais refugee camps could move to Kent after EU exit,” The Independent, 8 February 2016, available at

[2] Mark Chandler, “EU Referendum: Nigel Farage slammed over Brexit poster showing queue of migrants,” Evening Standard, 16 June 2016, available at

[3] Hayden Smith & Claire Hayhurst, “Three race hate crimes every hour since EU referendum say Met Police,” The Independent, 5 July 2016, available at

[4] “Brexit: Rights of EU citizens living in UK sparks row,” BBC, 4 July 2016, available at

[5] Jessica Elgot, “Labour motion on EU migrants ‘right to remain’ passes Commons vote,” The Guardian, 6 July 2016, available at


Launch of a Refugee Solidarity Initiative - Legal Centre Lesbos

Meeting a Pressing Need

Members of the Haldane Society along with sister associations across the world are collaborating to set up a legal centre in Lesbos to provide legal information to those within the various refugees camps found on the Greek Island. 

The Refugee Crisis

Europe is in the throes of the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. Millions have made the long, arduous and perilous journey to Europe by land or sea from the Asian and the African continents to flee from the effects of war in those regions.

According to the IOM, 206,400 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea between January and the first week of June this year. In the same period, 2,809 have died attempting to make the journey, marking an increase in fatalities of 52% compared to the first 6 months of 2015. 

With the causes of this crisis continuing unmitigated, the coming months are expected to see the death toll again rise.

Once those who take the route through Turkey arrive in Lesbos, the majority are detained without access to a lawyer and unaware of their legal rights whilst on the Island.  Thousands anxiously wait to see whether they will be transferred back to Turkey, a country controversially considered ‘a safe third country’ despite its arbitrary detention, refoulement and shooting of refugees

Legal Centre Lesbos

Considering the level of the crisis in the Mediterranean generally, and Lesbos in particular, a group of volunteer lawyers and legal students have decided to set up a legal centre on the Island. 

The Centre aims to provide solidarity with the inhabitants of the various camps by providing legal information regarding their rights which empowers them to make important decisions regarding their immediate future. This includes informing them of their options in relation to family reunification and their possible relocation to other parts of Europe.

Incredibly, legal aid for representation is currently not granted for most matters relating to asylum.  In cases involving the highest levels of vulnerability, the Centre will assist in providing for their representation through Greek lawyers on the ground. 

The Legal Centre also intends to bring legal challenges and create campaigns focusing on the detention of asylum seekers on the Island, their conditions of detention, delays in the asylum system and their possible return to Turkey, amongst other issues. 

International Solidarity

The Legal Centre has been endorsed by various Association from across the world, including:

  • The International Association of Democratic Lawyers
  • European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights
  • Asociación Americana de Juristas
  • Alternative Intervention of Athens Lawyers (Greece)
  • Hellenic Union of Progressive Lawyers (Greece)
  • Associazione Dei Giuristi Democratici (Italy)
  • Indian Association of Lawyers (India)
  • Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers (UK)
  • Juristes Democrates de Suisse (Switzerland)
  • German Association of Democratic Lawyers (Germany)

If you would like to support the establishment of a Legal Centre in Lesbos, you can donate at

The coordinator of this project, Carlos Orjuela of the Haldane Executive, can be contacted on