In the background materials posted on the Law Society website for Convocation in December of 2017, a brief of supportive letters was included. None of the many letters written by lawyers and legal associations which expressed concern about the Statement of Principles, or the EDI initiative generally, were included.
All submitted content reflects the opinions of the writer only, and not necessarily those of the StopSOP team.
Please include your full name and location of practice, and provide a Word version of your letter, if possible.
Forward submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mar5MonMarch 5, 2018 Joseph StarkmanThe Law Society has no right or authority to require the adoption of a prescribed set of principles. Principles are, by definition, beliefs. Beliefs cannot be compelled upon a person's conscience, either morally, legally or practically. Historically, only totalitarians have pretended otherwise. Requiring this declaration and the preparation of a statement of principles it contemplates violates my freedom of conscience, belief, thought, opinion and religion. In addition, it violates my freedom of expression insofar as it requires me to affirmatively state my allegiance to the favoured causes. Furthermore, requiring a "correct" opinion or belief can never be justified in a free society; on the contrary, it is anathema to it. I object to this requirement as, among other things, unconstitutional and otherwise beyond the power of the Law Society to prescribe, as well as being vague and ill-defined.
As Justice Robert Jackson stated in striking down, in time of an existential war, a compelled declaration far more defensible under the circumstances than this one:
"[N]o official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."