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Lord Toulson will return to Supreme Court bench after 72 days of retirement

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That was quick

lead1

A Supreme Court justice who retired from the elite bench in July will be sitting on the court’s second case of the new term.

Managing to keep away from the Westminster court for a grand total of just 72 days (including weekends), former Law Commission chairman Toulson will be sitting alongside Lords Mance, Clarke, Reed and Sumption to hear the insurance law case of Woodman on 10 October, according to an announcement by the Supreme Court team.

Despite no longer being a full-time justice, Toulson is able to do this because he is a member of the court’s ‘supplementary panel’ — a rotating roster of top judges who sit on an ad hoc basis in the country’s highest appeal court. Also in this bank of part-timers are former Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson and Scottish judges Lords Gill and Hamilton.

With these judicial bigwigs dipping in and out of Supreme Court sittings, Toulson will not be replaced with a full-time justice until a number of other benchers reach their statutory retirement dates in 2018. This is so selection of the candidates can be done all in one go, so expect big change at the Supreme Court in a few years time.

28 Comments

Anonymous

I can’t wait til I retire. Working for a living sucks.

(1)(0)

Not Amused

“will not be replaced with a full-time justice until a number of other benchers reach their statutory retirement dates in 2018. This is so selection of the candidates can be done all in one go”

Which is, objectively, the silliest reason for not appointing a replacement that they could have come up with.

Still … It will keep the women out for a bit longer eh?

(4)(6)

Bumblebee

The problem with your oft-repeated idea of getting more women to the bench is the following. Any pressure to elevate more women to the bench automatically results in a pressure to elect fewer men. So essentially, you wish to discriminate against candidates because of their gender.

As I understand it, you don’t seem to dispute that any of the current Supreme Court Justices aren’t there by merit. Rather, you seem to take the view that historically there have been many equally qualified candidates for the Supreme Court and, of the pool of qualified candidates, men were disproportionately selected in favour of women. (Is this right?)

First, I dispute your starting premise. However, even if it were true, how does your idea make things fairer and more egalitarian? You’re falling into the trap of thinking that just because past candidates enjoyed privilege on account of their gender, one can redress that unfairness by discriminating against future candidates with the same gender.

Put another way, you’re looking at an imbalance between the number of men and women, and assuming that that imbalance is due to historic discrimination. Even if your assumption was justified, you’re attempting to redress the past discrimination by introducing prospective discrimination.

Logically, your argument simply doesn’t follow.

(9)(3)

Not Amused

You misunderstand me completely and to be frank, you do so wilfully and with the skill of a good sixth form debater.

I find it extremely difficult to identify a member of the current supreme Court that reaches the standard I expect or that the country deserves. The experiment has been a disaster, broadly speaking. Men and woman, all are mediocre bordering on the worst we ever has under the old system.

We need to completely restock the court. We need to get rid of the broken competency appointment system. We need to start appointing talent. If we do so then it is inevitable there would be more women. Perhaps not parity – perhaps, God forbid, more women.

But no. I cannot defend the current batch
They are universally bad. The failures of recruitment are long standing and obvious. Sack the lot and start again.

(3)(7)

Bumblebee

Right, I see.

But you are in favour of quotas, are you not?

(3)(1)

Not Amused

Sigh. Please, stop the debating tricks.

I don’t favour quotas, because I don’t need them. Sumption expanded the candidate pool to include *every* female QC and lower court judge. From that pool there simply are enough talented women to fill the entire damn court – so I don’t need quotas.

Secondly as a debate trick you fail because there are already quotas in the Supreme Court as there were in the HoL and historically they did produce some shocking appointments …

(2)(7)

Bumblebee

Good Lord, what on earth is wrong with you?! I’m not trying to employ debating tricks, I’m trying to understand exactly what your position is.

That said, like a ‘sixth form debater’ I’ve had little Google and found the following comment of yours: “I opposed quotas for years. I’ve come around to them.” http://www.legalcheek.com/2015/09/now-its-proudman-versus-sumption-linkedin-row-barrister-slams-supreme-court-judge/

You can see why I’m confused. I’m just trying to work out what your position is, because it’s not clear. If you really are adopting an anarchic, non-specific, ‘everything is wrong, change everything’ position, that’s fine. I won’t waste my time engaging in such a pointless debate. If however there’s more substance to your position, please enlighten me.

(10)(1)

Anonymous

Boom headshot

(3)(1)

Not Amused

My position is this:

“I don’t favour quotas, because I don’t need them. Sumption expanded the candidate pool to include *every* female QC and lower court judge. From that pool there simply are enough talented women to fill the entire damn court – so I don’t need quotas.”

“I find it extremely difficult to identify a member of the current supreme Court that reaches the standard I expect or that the country deserves. The experiment has been a disaster, broadly speaking. Men and woman, all are mediocre bordering on the worst we ever has under the old system.

We need to completely restock the court. We need to get rid of the broken competency appointment system. We need to start appointing talent. If we do so then it is inevitable there would be more women.”

“there are already quotas in the Supreme Court as there were in the HoL and historically they did produce some shocking appointments”

“I cannot defend the current batch. They are universally bad. The failures of recruitment are long standing and obvious. Sack the lot and start again.”

(1)(4)

Bumblebee

I don’t really follow your first point. When people speak of quotas, they’re generally not talking about schemes which broaden the candidate pool. Rather, they’re speaking of schemes which influence who is selected from the candidate pool.

Nevertheless, if you don’t support quotas it’s immaterial in any event.

This was a fun debate. Reminds me of sixth form.

Anonymous

I’m guessing NA has recently lost a case at the Supreme Court…

(2)(1)

Anonymous

I’m guessing NA has never been anywhere near the Supreme Court…

(6)(1)

Solicitor Avocado

I don’t know, I quite like Green, Males and Mann J (I thought the same for Lang for a while but not anymore). Although I take the view that the current Court of Appeal is intellectually dishonest barring Barrnett and Bean.

I have not seen a singular judge on the CoA that understands the Equality Act in any recent judgment (see Essop, Naeem and Coll N. All granted permission in the SC)

(0)(1)

Charlotte Proudman

Sexist! why isn’t there a Females and Woman J?!?

(1)(0)

Solicitor Avacado

Ha! I only just noticed that, well spotted.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I wonder if the idea of replacing a number of judges in one go in 2018 is a cover story for a real reason.

Perhaps 2018 is expected to be the date that any Brexit related litigation will reach the Supreme Court, and so they want to devise fresh vetting procedures for the judges sitting then.

In the meantime, replacing someone like Toulson with a long term Supreme Court judge, when the vetting procedures have not been devised, let alone completed, is too much of a risk.

“Crumbs, beg Toulson to come back even though he has retired. We have just looked at the pool of potential male replacements from the usual Chambers, and the women, generally, and who knows which way they will slant their narrative in Brexit related judgments. We need to take further secret soundings….”

The idea that such observations are made in the corridors of power, is, of course, a joke on my part…ha ha ha

On a more serious note, I am a great believer in the idea of “Give a man a reputation as an early riser, and that man can get up at noon”

And so I think it would be very interesting to do a study whereby

(i) any group of lawyers are given the bundles and skeleton arguments of all Counsel in a Supreme Court Case
(ii) these lawyers, together with real Supreme Court judges, can then email questions to the advocates anonymously*, so that the legal arguments are tested
(iii) a judgment is written up by the any group of lawyers and the real Supreme Court judges

and we see, what I expect, would be a job that any one of us could do. Shock Horror !

(*This being a pilot study, oral advocacy is replaced by emailed arguments or some other laboratory condition)

“Write a judgment based on a bundle of documents, a hearing to test the facts and law, and two or more skeleton arguments”…how much harder can it be at the top than at the bottom ?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Glad to see we have managed to retain an intelligent judge. This should be celebrated.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

What about Peter Smith?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

What about Paul Smith?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

What about John Smith?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

He looks like Willem Dafoe

(1)(1)

Anonymous

So does yo’ moma

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Oh snap!

(0)(2)

Anonymous

I’m not sure, I can certainly see it but I wouldn’t have made that connection on my own. It’s the wide mouth no? Those lines stretching from the nose to the chin? Yes, I suppose you’re right. The strong teeth are another similarity.

If someone was to say to me, what do you think he looks like, I would probably say Zippy.

Of course, this is a childish comparison but one that rings just as true as your own to Dafoe.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

He looks more like Jermaine Defoe if you ask me

(1)(0)

Anonymous

No, definitely germane greer

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I watched a documentary about the supreme court once, and one of them had the most disgusting old man nose hair I’ve ever seen. I’m retching thinking about it now.

(1)(0)

Lord Harley of Counsel

I can do that.

Gissa job.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.