While Lord Judge expressed reservations about judges being called before Parliamentary select committees too often, It was fascinaing to watch as The Right Honourable The Lord Judge, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and The Right Honourable The Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, KG, President of The Supreme Court gave evidence on the impact of the Human Rights Act and the relationship of domestic law and the European Convention.
They were both asked by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Lester whether UK courts have been too strict in following ECHR case law. “We have a tendency to be too strict,” Phillips said. “We pay great attention to the decisions and rulings of higher [UK] courts. That’s what we are used too and sometimes we do it too much. Perhaps we analyse it in too much detail.”
Judge said that he agreed “with great emphasis”. He added: “We have approached a lot of the decisions of the European court system in the manner we would approached a decision of our own court. I think we have not been sufficiently flexible.
“Most of the decisions [in the ECHR] are not dealing with principles they are dealing with facts and that’s not a precedent for anything.
“There’s been a tendency to follow much more closely than we should. I think judges are generally aware of this and are examining the decisions of the [ECHR] much more carefully to see whether they are just looking at facts or principle.”
The archive film of the evidence given by Lord Judge and Lord Phillips is a must watch for law students and will be well worth a watch for all interested in human rights law.
And so to… ‘cod’ law.
Carl Gardner writes at his Head of Legal blog: Hilarious – but dangerous – cod legalism
I wrote in August about the ridiculous “freemen on the land”, and didn’t expect to return to the subject – but have written a piece for Comment is Free today in response to yesterday’s contribution from “commonly known as dom”. What he said was rightly criticised by both Legal Bizzle and Adam Wagner at the UK Human Rights Blog but I’ve taken a slightly different angle – focusing on why protesters and the left, in particular, should give freemanism short shrift:
The “freemen on the land” meme isn’t just dangerous: it’s politically unattractive, too. Freemen’s love of common law seems romantic at first, until you realise it implies a wish to turn back the clock to a time before democratic legislation, a time when some people really were lucky to be free and when others really were enslaved.
All of the links are worth a read. It is remarkable how many, including professional journalists, seem to get the law wrong – a point noted wryly by Lord Phillips when he gave evidence to the select committee.
And.. this idea may not prove to be the most sensible way of getting a pupillage?
‘IT’S TIME TO OCCUPY THE INNS OF COURT’
Jobless law graduates should follow the St Paul’s protesters’ example, argues OccupyTheInns
As the Occupy Wall Street camp is cleared, and the City of London commences legal action against the Occupy London protesters, why am I proposing the occupation of the Inns of Court? Simple. Because I, and many law graduates like me, are angry. As we have seen in Egypt, New York and at home in London, anger can be a great energiser.
Through no fault of our own, a generation of Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and Legal Practice Course (LPC) graduates find ourselves with no jobs – or no jobs as lawyers anyway. The lucky ones are paralegals. The unlucky ones work in bars (not the Bar).
I sympathise – although, it is fair to point out that most law students know the odds when they start the BPTC (Bar Professional Training Course). The odds are stacked against new entrants to the profession – particularly The Bar side.
I have a feeling that any plan to occupy the Inns of Court on the part of angry prospective barristers may lead to ‘unintended consequences’. We shall see (a) if anyone comes forward with a tent and, if they do (b) whether this direct action leads to offers of pupillage.
Finally… back to some good legal analysis…
Carl Gardner writes: “Yesterday the joint committee of the Lords and Commons on privacy and injunctions took evidence from bloggers including not only the notorious Guido Fawkes, but I’m pleased to say my old Without Prejudice colleague and leading law blogger David Allen Green, who of course was able to give evidence from the point of view not just of a blogger but of a media lawyer.”
I am doing a podcast with David Allen Green on this issue and #Hackgate – and anything else we fancy talking about - tomorrow evening.