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Rule of law defines who we are and underpins our place in the world

The UK is on the cusp of a historic change of direction – the steps we take will set the tone for how we are seen in the world, the Law Society of England and Wales warned today as the Internal Market Bill entered its House of Commons committee stage.

“The rule of law is under attack,” said Law Society president Simon Davis.

“In 2014, the Department for Education published guidance on promoting fundamental British values in schools, including the rule of law.

“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.”

Notes to editors

Our campaign action encouraging people to write to their MPs is now live.

We have spokespeople available to give expert legal commentary.

Read our joint parliamentary briefing with the Bar Council

In the briefing, we outline how clauses 41 to 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 judgments
  • could raise significant conflict between the courts and executive with regard to judicial review

We therefore urge support for amendments 1, 2 and 3, and any others yet to be tabled which also aim to remove clauses 41 to 45.

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: Ben Davies | 0208 049 3750