Independent judiciary underpins our democracy and rule of law

An independent judiciary is fundamental to Britain’s democracy and to the rule of law and it underpins the UK’s reputation for balance and stability, the Law Society of England and Wales said as it welcomed today’s comments from Attorney General Jeremy Wright that were supportive of the High Court judges in last Thursday’s Article 50 case.

“Attacks on the judges simply because they were doing their jobs does our country no credit and government ministers must be unequivocal in their support for the rule of law even if they disagree with the judgment,” Law Society President Robert Bourns said.

“It is part of the role of lawyers to defend unpopular causes and there has been an increasing narrative in recent months that seeks to conflate the jobs solicitors and barristers do with the causes they represent as part of our system of justice. The extension of this to disparaging and criticising judges is dangerous and damaging.

“This very narrative is undermining to a system which has evolved over many centuries and which helps ensure that power is not abused and that – where there are legal matters to be decided – citizens have recourse through the courts.

“The vote on 23 June threw up an unprecedented set of challenges – but it decided just one thing: that Britain would leave the EU. We are fortunate in this country to have a set of institutions which provide clarity and resolution of issues triggered by that referendum.

“This includes next month’s Supreme Court hearing on Article 50 which we hope will be greeted – whichever way it goes – with a much less inflammatory reaction.”

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