The rule of law is under attack in Britain, Law Society president Simon Davis said today as the UK Internal Market Bill entered its House of Commons committee stage.
In a strongly worded statement following last night’s commons vote, Chancery Lane said that the steps Britain takes now will set the tone for how we are seen in the world.
'In 2014 the Department for Education published guidance on promoting fundamental British values in schools, including the rule of law,' Davis said. 'To hear, therefore, this country proposing to breach an agreement just entered into, breaking international law, even if in a "specific and limited way" has been shocking.
'It is because of our commitment to the rule of law that our system of justice is respected globally, that countries want to do trade deals with the UK and that we can comment on state oppression in Belarus with credibility.
'We have a choice about what sort of country we want to be and what we want to be known for around the world. I fervently hope we will still be respected as a country which prides itself on upholding the rule of law.'
The Law Society says that clauses 41-45 in the bill:
- Represent a direct challenge to the rule of law, including the UK’s obligations under public international law
- Affect the legal hierarchy of sources established in the Withdrawal Agreement
- Threaten violation of the international principle of good faith
- Have serious implications for the reputation of the UK around the world as a country with which to do business
- Inadvertently affect the continuing cooperation with other jurisdictions in relation to civil judicial cooperation and enforcement of judgements
- Could raise significant conflict between the courts and executive with regard to judicial review
It is asking members to write to their MPs urging them to vote to remove clauses from the UK Internal Market Bill that would undermine the rule of law.