Monday 17 March 2014

Are the Judges too powerful? or Are they overstepping the line? Two more Judicial Speeches

Are the judges too powerful? - A Speech in which Lord Dyson (Master of the Rolls) considered two  distinct questions. The first is whether, on the purely domestic front, our courts are trespassing into areas which should not be their preserve. The second is whether the European Court of Human Rights is overstepping the mark in imposing political and social values on the UK for which it has no democratic mandate. Both questions raise big issues on which many have expressed views in recent years.

The speech ranged over the traditional approach of the judiciary to keeping the common law in line with contemporary society; to judicial review; to the European Court of Human Rights and, finally, to the Human Rights Act 1998.  His conclusion is that the judges are not too powerful and that their task is exercised with restraint and respect for Parliament.  This is a very readable speech and can be seen as a measured and moderate response to certain other recent speeches by senior judicial figures - notably that of Lord Sumption in his Azlan Shah lecture in Kuala Lumpur (November 2013).  

The Creaney Memorial Lecture delivered by Lord Justice Moses is also interesting - The Guardian - Senior Judge takes on critics of human rights convention .  The text of the lecture is available via the Judiciary website - Hitting the balls out of court: Are the judges stepping over the line?


20th November 2013, Lord Sumption - 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Lecture in Kuala Lumpur - The Limits of Law.

Earlier post - My thoughts (as a citizen) on Lord Sumption's Azlan Shah Lecture

Lord Justice Laws on 27th November in the Hamlyn Lectures 2013 - see Lecture 3 Common Law and Europe.

Lady Hale (Deputy President of the Supreme Court) on 28th November - Lady Hale at the Warwick Law Lecture 2013 (PDF) - What’s the point of human rights?

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