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Legal Profession: Human Rights

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 142865, tabled on 25 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has held discussions with the President of the Supreme Court on the appropriateness of UK legal professionals sitting on proceedings in nations where human rights abuses have been noted.

Answered on

2 February 2021

The UK Government are committed to ensuring that the UK judiciary and UK lawyers should maintain the highest reputation in upholding the rule of law wherever they may sit on proceedings.

For example, in relation to Hong Kong, UK judges have played an important role in supporting the independence of Hong Kong’s judiciary for many years. We want this to, and hope that it can, continue. The UK judiciary is independent of the Government and it is therefore for them to make an assessment on this. The Lord Chancellor has, however, discussed with Lord Reed how they may jointly monitor developments to enable the Supreme Court to consider carefully the role of their sitting justices, and to assist other serving judges to determine the propriety of their continued service.

No formal consultation with the President of the UK Supreme Court is taking place.