Should UK lawyers cease to act for wealthy Russians?
|Image: Public Domain, via Piqsels|
Following the depressing news this morning, I was pondering whether to write this post, originally with the title: Do UK law firms acting for Russians have blood on their hands?
But I thought that might be too much, and wondered whether I should put finger to keyboard at all.
However, I decided to do so after coming across a thread on Twitter by historian and journalist Guy Walters. In the thread, written on the 22nd February, he argued that if the UK really wants to hit the Russians where it hurts, we should remove the visas from the 2,300 Russian pupils at British private schools. He went on:
Yes. My knowledge is limited to family law, but in recent years there have been many published family judgments of London courts involving wealthy Russians, represented by top law London firms and counsel, who have no doubt made enormous fees in the process.
Those wealthy Russians do continue to have access to those lawyers. Is it now time for it to stop?
Of course there is an argument that those wealthy Russians are not responsible for the awful events in Ukraine. Some may well be vigorously opposed.
But many seem to think that it is too late to attempt to differentiate between the good and the bad. The time for action is now.
Sadly, I never had the chance to benefit from the huge rewards offered by acting for a Russian oligarch. But if I did I would like to think that I would now be doing some serious soul-searching: Does my client have any connection with the Russian regime? Are they cosy with Putin? Where exactly did their money come from? And if I take that money do I have blood on my hands?
I hope that similar questions are being mulled over in the minds of all lawyers in this country who offer their services to wealthy Russians.
Of course, whether ceasing to act for such clients will have any effect in the grand scheme of things, I do not have the expertise to say. But Putin supporters continuing to enjoy access to anything they want from this country in the present circumstances is surely not something that we should contemplate.