LGFS Consultation Response

The Ministry of Justice is consulting on proposed changes to the Litigators Graduated Fee Scheme, which solicitors conducting legally aided criminal work.  The proposals amount to massive and unsustainable cuts and are firmly opposed by the Haldane Society.

The Haldane Society has provided a detailed response to the consultation. 

Download our response here, or read it below.

Free public lecture: Where next for the ICC?

On 26 April 2017 at 18:30 to 20:30 we will hold our next lecture in our Human Rights Lecture Series.

"Where next for the ICC?" will feature speakers:

  • Wayne Jordash QC (Doughty Street Chambers) and
  • Carla Ferstman (Redress)

The event will take place at the University of Law, 14 Store Street, London, WC1E 7DE.

No need to register; latecomers welcome.

Follow the event on Facebook.


Fighting trolls: Tackling online violence against women

Our next lecture, FIGHTING TROLLS: TACKLING ONLINE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN on 21 March 2017, will be addressed by speakers Dianne Abbott MP, and Olivia Piercy (Rights of Women).

The lecture takes place 6.30pm at BPP University, Waterloo Campus (137 Stamford Street, Lambeth, London, SE1 9NN).  Directions right.




Solidarity with the International Women’s Strike – 8th March 2017

This International Women’s Day, millions of women around the world are taking to the streets, reclaiming public spaces and collectively withdrawing our waged and unwaged labour in an international strike against gendered violence.

A joint statement by a group of prominent socialist feminist academics and activists – including Angela Davis, who was keynote speaker at Haldane’s ‘Women Fighting Back’ conference in 2015 – describes the invisibilized structural violence against women this global strike aims to denounce:

“In embracing a feminism for the 99%, we take inspiration from the Argentinian coalition Ni Una Menos. Violence against women, as they define it, has many facets: it is domestic violence, but also the violence of the market, of debt, of capitalist property relations, and of the state; the violence of discriminatory policies against lesbian, trans and queer women, the violence of state criminalization of migratory movements, the violence of mass incarceration, and the institutional violence against women’s bodies through abortion bans and lack of access to free healthcare and free abortion.”

Building on the momentum of the women’s strikes in Poland and Argentina at the end of 2016 and the Women’s Marches of January 21st this year, groups calling the strike have highlighted the radical origins of 8th March: the mass strikes of predominantly migrant women garment workers in Manhattan 1908 that inspired the first ‘Women’s Day’; the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference where the day acquired its international character; the women’s strike for “Bread, Peace and Freedom” in St. Petersburg on International Women’s Day 1917, which sparked the February Revolution in Russia.

100 years on, the 2017 international women’s strike comes at a time when Russia has just decriminalised domestic violence; when a billionaire man who boasts about sexually assaulting women with impunity is president of the U.S; and when one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Brutal neoliberal austerity policies hit women hardest – particularly women of colour, disabled women, LGBTQ women, working class and migrant women. All over the world it is disproportionately women who work in underpaid, precarious and dehumanising conditions, while simultaneously doing the unwaged, unacknowledged labour of social reproduction.

Collectively remembering the origins of International Women’s Day is a way of re-centring the feminist movement’s radicalism, what Davis and others describe as “a new international feminist movement with an expanded agenda: at once anti-racist, anti-imperialist, anti-heterosexist and anti-capitalist.”

The Ni Una Menos movements in Latin America have a chant that expresses both the desperation and defiance of this international women’s strike. “¡Vivas nos Queremos!” – “We want to live!”. It is a demand for a life free from violence, but also for another possible world.

AGFS Consultation Response

The Ministry of Justice is consulting on proposed changes to the Advocates Graduated Fee Scheme, which pays barristers and solicitor-advocates to conduct legal aid work in the Crown Court.

The Haldane Society has provided a detailed response to the consultation.  We oppose the proposed scheme which we believe, despite the Ministry of Justice's claim, represents a significant cut to fees.

Download our response here, or read it below.

Solidarity with ‘Legal Community Strikes Back on #F17

Lawyers, law students and legal workers will assemble outside Courts in cities across the U.S at 1pm (ET) today, February 17th, in a strike action called by the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) as part of the #F17 General Strike against the Trump administration. As NLG President Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan states:

“We are facing unprecedented attacks on our most fundamental human rights and are seeing the unfolding of authoritarianism before our eyes. The legal community has no choice but to show up, to defend our communities and to fight back by holding our institutions accountable.”

The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers stands in solidarity with this strike action and support the vital resistance of our comrades in the U.S.

In the space of only four weeks since Donald Trump took office, his regime has issued a series of executive orders that constitute calculated attacks on the rights of muslims, women, people of colour, LBGTQ folk, indigenous communities, the environment and working people.

When the media attempts to hold him to account, Trump dismisses truth as “alternative facts”. When recent legal challenges succeeded in blocking his ‘Muslim ban’, the President dismissed the role of the judiciary via Twitter, saying:

“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

Such comments, along with an authoritarian taste for executive orders, reveal the Trump administration's utter disregard for the rule of law and democratic processes. In this context, we believe the legal community has an important role to play in the necessary fightback.

  • By acting as an institutional check on executive power. Taking resistance through the courts, as in the case of challenges to the ‘Muslim ban’. Upholding constitutionally enshrined human rights and civil liberties – of due process, non-discrimination, protections against arbitrary detention and deportation, defending activists and whistleblowers.
  • By showing up. The past month has seen an extraordinary mobilisation of activists taking direct action on the streets, in airports, university campuses and schools across the U.S.  The pro bono lawyers who showed up to airports in the immediate aftermath of the ‘Muslim ban’ – working around the clock to file habeas corpus petitions and intervene in coercive attempts to get people to sign away their rights – show how vital direct legal action on the ground is.
  • By refusing to legitimise. As socialist lawyers we recognise how the legal system can function to confer legitimacy on policies – which is to say ideologies – both instrumentally and rhetorically. We note the danger of any attempt to adopt this ‘business as usual’ approach to Trump’s white supremacist nationalistic agenda. Instead of conferring legitimacy, the legal community must lend our understanding of, and proximity to, the institutions of state power to intervene in its present violence.

As our comrades in the U.S are demonstrating today, the legal community can strike back against the far right and lend its power to resistance. Solidarity to #LawStrikesBack from across the Atlantic.

Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Solidarity with Lawyers in Egypt and China

Solidarity with Egyptian Lawyers!

On 24 January 2017 members of the Haldane Society gathered at the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in London to protest against the treatment of lawyers by the Egyptian regime.  Our European affiliates in the ELDH have prepared a report on the situation for Egyptian lawyers which makes for grim reading.

Solidarity with Chinese Lawyers!

Lawyers not just in Egypt but around the world face continue to face persecution for doing their jobs.  Concern has particularly been expressed recently regarding the treatment of Chinese Lawyers.  The Haldane Society has released the following statement:

"On the Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2017, the Haldane Society for Socialist Lawyers expresses solidarity with lawyers in the People’s Republic of China and condemns all state intimidation, violence and detention Chinese legal practitioners are subject to.
In the summer of 2015 over 300 human rights lawyers, legal assistants and activists were detained, interrogated and imprisoned in what became known as the ‘709 Crackdown’, following the first arrest of Human Rights Lawyer Wang Yu on the 9th July. A number of those detained during this wave of repression remain in prison, charged with “subversion” and “inciting subversion”. Some have reported torture. Other lawyers detained during the 709 Crackdown have been released but banned from leaving the country.
As Socialist Lawyers, the Haldane Society stands against all forms of state violence and intimidation. Lawyers in China must be empowered to undertake their professional duties free from executive judicial intervention; free from state harassment, intimidation, arbitrary detention and imprisonment."

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 secretary@haldane.org 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.