Thursday, November 10, 2016

Liz Truss writes on the need for both independent judges and a free press

The Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss has written to The Times in response to those people who appeared to think that she should have intervened against certain newspapers.

It's a good reply and worth quoting

"Sir

An independent judiciary is the cornerstone of the rule of law, vital to our constitution and freedoms. It is my duty as Lord Chancellor to defend that independence. I swore to do so under my oath of office. I take that very seriously and I will always do so.

Lord Falconer of Thornton QC (letter, Nov 5th) says that 'judges should rightly fear for their independence' due to my not condemning the reaction of some newspapers to the Brexit ruling.

I think it unlikely that the High Court is imperilled by the opinions of any newspaper.

However, there is another principle at stake here: the freedom of the press. I believe in a free press, where newspapers are free to publish, within the law, their views.

It is not the job of the government or Lord Chancellor to police headlines, and it would be a dark day for democracy if that changed.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, the Master of the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton and Lord Justice Sales are people of integrity and impartiality, as are the 11 Supreme Court justices who will hear the appeal. They have exercised their independence and made a ruling. 'without fear or favour' in accordance with their judicial oath.

The right of the judges to make that decision has never been in question and I defended their independence after that decision.

Elizabeth Truss
Lord Chancellor."

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