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UK risks global reputation downgrade over human rights leadership

22 September 2017

Britain risks its reputation for fairness and integrity if it disregards international human rights standards, the Law Society of England and Wales said today following the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council's universal periodic review of the UK.

Law Society vice president Christina Blacklaws said: "Britain’s recognition of human rights and the rule of law is respected across the world. The ability of every citizen to defend or assert their rights - regardless of wealth or standing - has been embedded in our national identity over many centuries.

"As Britain foregoes these guiding principles, supporting just 42% of the UN's 229 recommendations on human rights, we undermine our standing globally and our ability to hold other states to account and we disrupt a far wider culture of international cooperation that has been built over many years.

"The consequences are likely to be a society that becomes less safe, less stable and less fair."

The Law Society in its evidence for the universal periodic review and subsequently, raised concerns about the erosion of access to justice in the UK, the weakening of human rights protections and threats to the rule of law.

A combination of cuts to legal aid and exponential increases in court fees has served to increase the hurdles faced by citizens trying to defend their legal rights, including asserting their human rights.

Notes to editors

See the UN human rights report

Find out more about the Law Society's work on human rights

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Harriet Beaumont | +44 (0)20 7320 5830