In a recent letter, immigration minister, Chris Philp, criticised lawyers for challenging the deportation of asylum seekers. The condemnation is a fresh attack on the legal profession, accusing lawyers of “playing politics” and attempting to undermine the justice system.

The letter, seen by the Observer, takes aim at lawyers for last-minute challenges to the deportation of asylum seekers. However, critics say Philp’s remarks show a fundamental misunderstanding of how the court system works.

The letter, dated 10 November, was addressed to Mhairi Black, the SNP MP.

Chair of the Bar Council, Amanda Pinto QC said:

“This latest criticism of lawyers yet again exposes the lack of understanding of the role lawyers play in our immigration and wider justice system, as well as a gap in the minister’s knowledge of the Home Office’s own operations when it comes to immigration,”

“The government should not make general, unwarranted attacks on the reputation of the legal profession. To do so undermines the whole system,”

Specialising in challenging detention of vulnerable migrants, Stephanie Harrison QC, said:

“It is alarming that minsters continue to pursue this hostile attack on lawyers for fulfilling their professional obligations in defending their clients’ rights and when seeking to hold this government to account when acting unlawfully.

“Instead of doubling down on lawyers, surely the government should be doubling down on extremism and domestic terror – not fanning its flames in pursuit of its dangerous populist politics and policies.”

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