Friday, 21 October 2011

Courts need not be bound by Europe, says top judge

British courts do not need to be bound by European human rights rulings, the country’s most senior judge said yesterday.


Giving evidence to the Lords Constitutional Committee, Lord Judge was asked whether Strasbourg “always wins”.

He said: “I would like to suggest that maybe Strasbourg shouldn’t win and doesn’t need to win.”

“I think for Strasbourg I think there is yet a debate to happen, it will have to happen in the Supreme Court, about what we really do mean in the Human rights Act, what parliament means in the Human Rights Act, when it said that the courts in this country must take account of the decisions of European Court of Human Rights.

“I myself think it is at least arguable that having taken account of the decision of the court in Strasbourg our courts are not bound by them. Give them due weight in most cases obviously, we would follow them but not, I think, necessarily.”

The Human Rights Act, which the last Labour Government passed, enshrined the European Convention of Human Rights in to British law.

Lord Phillips, the President of the Supreme Court, told the peers that Strasbourg can cause “serious problems” when it rules against the UK courts.

But he said that as long as the Human Rights Act existed Strasbourg would win.

The Government has been given a further stay by Europe on its demand to impose prisoner voting pending the outcome of a similar case involving Italy.

Mr Cameron has suggested replacing the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights.

He also plans to use the UK’s presidency of the Council of Europe from next month to lead a radical shake – up of the European human rights court.

However, he was warned last month by his own commission examining a Bill of Rights that radical reform of the court would not prevent it again overruling Parliament on issues such as allowing prisoners to vote.

In other issues, Lord Judge warned ministers that their open criticism of decisions of the courts that they do not like is “damaging”.

The relationship between parliament and judiciary was strained earlier this year in a row over the growing use of injunctions and claims that the courts were effectively creating a law of privacy by stealth.

Asked about a public perception of antagonism between parliament and the judiciary, he said: “It would help if Government ministers did not cheer when they agree with a judicial decision or boo when they disagree.

“That is, I think, very undesirable and I think it is damaging. If we got rid of that I think it would be much easier.”"


bertie bert said...

common law trumps all..

Britain Has A Constitution
Britain has a constitution of considerable standing, the foundations of which were established almost 800 years ago with the signing of Magna Carta in 1215, and reasserted 322 years go with the Declaration of Right and Bill of Rights in 1688.

Parliament was not party to either Magna Carta or the Declaration of Right and thus has no authority to impinge upon the contract agreed i.e. our constitution. They are, however, obliged to obey its provisions. The Bill of Rights is a parliamentary affirmation of the Declaration of Right, it does not replace it or stand above it, it is merely a confirmation of it.

If parliament breeches our constitution, it renders itself illgitimate to us, for as long as the breech remains. No breech may stand as binding upon us.

Our constitution has been emulated by countries around the world as it is recognised as a benchmark for the protection of the people against the tyranny of rulers and errant politicians.

Our constitution provides a stalwart barrier to dictators, tyrants, and the political elites engorged with their own self-importance - but stands only subject to the vigilance of the people who must be prepared to defend it or lose it. The dire consequences of the latter being once lost it will take civil war and bloodshed to reinstate its provisions which are the very foundation of our rights and freedoms. The natural instincts of the politicians are to grasp power for themselves and to try to diminish any authority which stands in their way.

Silly Kuffar said...

All very well..but it's not working is it.
It's just being ignored.