Problem #4 - The SOP Undermines the Independence of Lawyers and is Against the Public InterestWhen Shakespeare wrote in King Henry VI, “First we kill all the lawyers”, it wasn’t because they were over-billing. It was because lawyers stood in the way of tyranny. When people are abused, they turn to lawyers to protect them. Lawyers are the last line of defence for the weak and the oppressed. The primary duty of lawyers and paralegals is to serve the public and to protect the interests of their clients. It is not to achieve the political aims of their regulator or the state. Fulfilling this duty requires independence - of thought, belief, and opinion. Independence must exist and must manifestly appear to exist.
LSO requirement 3(1) is inconsistent with our independence. It imposes a duty to express our concurrence with values that the regulator wishes to have embraced. The independence of legal professionals is as essential to the rule of law as the independence of courts. The historical record bears testimony to the political and social struggles, strife, and sacrifice that were endured to win it. It should not be abandoned with casual indifference.
The #StopSOP slate of Candidates is committed to repealing Requirement 3(1) of the EDI initiative.