Friday, 29 November 2013

Weekend reading ~ a "conference" of speeches

3rd December - Updated with further links

Whether or not there is a collective noun for "speeches" - (perhaps a "conference" of speeches?) - there have been many in recent days. 

Lord Judge - former Lord Chief Justice - Bar Council Annual Law Reform Lecture 21st November - The evidence of child victims: the next stage

Speeches by Supreme Court Justices:

Lord Sumption - 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Lecture, Kuala Lumpur - The Limits of Law

Lord Justice Laws - Hamlyn Lectures 2013 - Lecture 3 Common Law and Europe  The first two Hamlyn lectures are entitled - 1. Common Law and State Powre - 2. Common Law and Extremism.

In an article, Lord Neuberger (President of the Supreme Court) expressed views about short term prison sentences sentencing - Daily Mail 26th November - "One of the country’s  most senior judges provoked fury last night when he criticised short jail sentences for interfering with the home lives of criminals.  Lord Neuberger, president of the Supreme Court, said he rejected the idea that a couple of months behind bars – and what he called ‘the clang of the prison gates’ – could help bring criminals to their senses.  Instead, he warned such sentences ‘can be disruptive’ for the prisoner’s job and home life. The judge made his comments after visiting Holloway women’s prison in North London."

Sir Rabinder Singh - The Unity of Law - or the dangers of over-specialisation - Society of Legal Scholars Centenary Lecture 28th November.

Speeches by serving judges are, of course, extra-judicial matters and are not necessarily indicative as to how the particular judge would decide any actual case.  However, speeches reveal not only information about the law and legal practice but also reveal something of the personality and attitudes to law of the speaker.  Things have moved on considerably from the days of Lord Chancellor Kilmuir - (post of 2nd December 2011).  At the present time, there seems to be an excess of speech-making and it may (emphasis on "may") be that  certain judges are risking an appearance of aligning themselves with some members of the present government who undoubtedly wish to limit the influence within the UK of bodies such as the European Court of Human Rights.  Such an "impression" would be singularly unfortunate.   I leave it to the reader to look at the speeches and form a judgment on this point.


27th November 2013 - The Guardian - Joshua Rozenberg - Laying down the Laws: human rights court shouldn't have the last word.

2nd December 2013 - Francis FitzGibbon QC - Conspicuous Sumption

3rd December - Spare us from radical judges

3rd December - Thinking Legally - Hoffmann, Laws and Sumption: they come to bury the ECHR, not to praise it


  1. How about a hotair of speeches?

  2. Age makes me a natural supporter of the European project but I found both the speeches by LJs Laws and Sumption to be interesting and thoughtful with much to ponder. It is not just the rabid Right who have become more worried by the way the ECHR has been behaving latterly.