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SRA to probe claims in Daily Mail article
Rishi Sunak Pic: Shutterstock

27 Jul 2023 / britain Print

SRA to probe claims in Daily Mail article

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has vowed to prosecute any solicitor or law firm found to be exploiting Britain’s immigration system to help clients win asylum when the case does not merit it.

The regulator for solicitors in England and Wales was responding to the publication of a Daily Mail article in which immigration lawyers appeared to tell an undercover journalist they could coach them to game the asylum system to secure residence in the UK

The Law Society Gazette of England and Wales says that the SRA rarely comments on social media about media reports on solicitors but said on messaging service X (formerly Twitter): “We’re aware of the recent story in the Daily Mail.

“If we find evidence that solicitors or firms we regulate have acted in ways that contravene our rules, and in particular their duty to act legally and uphold the law, we can and will take action.”

Sunak comments spark backlash

The newspaper’s story appears to feature legal advisers being secretly filmed speaking to someone they believed was an economic migrant seeking to stay in Britain.

The Gazette adds that the story has reached the attention of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (pictured), who has accused the opposition Labour Party and a “subset of lawyers, criminal gangs” of being “all on the same side, propping up a system of exploitation that profits from getting people to the UK illegally”.

According to the Gazette, Sunak’s response provoked a backlash on social media, as many commentators questioned whether his comments were appropriate.

Sam Townend KC, vice-chair of the Bar Council, said: “Lawyers are not beyond reproach, and all professions have individuals who commit misconduct and are dishonest.

“Regulators are there to discipline them. The comments by the prime minister, however, are clearly an attempt to play politics with the legal profession,” she said, adding that such rhetoric undermined the rule of law, trust in lawyers and confidence in the UK legal system.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland