Thursday, 12 July 2012

Presidency of the Supreme Court ~ Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury

It is confirmed that Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury will become the next President of the Supreme Court

Earlier on 12th July, Law and Lawyers said:

On Twitter this morning (12th July) ...  JoshuaRozenberg: I expect Downing Street to announce today that Lord Neuberger will be president of the UK Supreme Court. More on later.

We shall see.  An article by Owen Bowcott in The Guardian 10th July indicated that the choice was between present Supreme Court Justices Lady Hale, Lord Mance and the present Master of the Rolls (and former Lord of Appeal in Ordinary) Lord Neuberger.

Their legal abilities are undoubted.  The choice should
be made on the basis of which candidate is best able to lead the court in the tempestuous times which lie ahead as the UK weathers the economic storm and as issues such as the future of Human Rights protection and the UK's relationship with "Europe" are raised on an almost daily basis.

In an editorial, The Guardian chose to sing the praises of Lady Hale:

"It is not the proper role of any judge to attack government policy, but it is right for judges to warn government of the consequences of their actions. Thus began Lady Hale, the only woman justice of the supreme court, in a typically forthright speech defending legal aid. Hale is one of three senior judges on the shortlist for the president of the supreme court. In this country there are no US-style public hearings for judges, a principle we support. Privacy has its drawbacks, in this case the possibility that the court could turn into a self-replicating hierarchy of white males. Hale's route into the judiciary was unconventional. A former law lecturer at Manchester University, she is the only top judge to have been appointed straight from academia. She is open and unpompous. At the last AGM of Liberty, she said she would like the public to think of the supreme court as the guardian of the law on their behalf. She would make an ideal president."

With no disrespect to anyone, I concur.  However, Joshua Rozenberg's analysis - (favouring Lord Neuberger) - is forthright and typically well considered - see The Guardian 12th July 2012.

* Readers may be interested to listen to the podcast on the Head of Legal blog.  Here, former government lawyer Carl Gardner, discusses Lord Neuberger's appointment and says why he would have been concerned had Lady Hale been the appointee.

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