Analysis

The Telegraph and the Mail misguidely go after Lord Neuberger

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30

Have they not read his speeches?

neuberger

Several newspapers have turned on Supreme Court chief Lord Neuberger after unearthing some pro-EU tweets made by his wife, with calls being made over the weekend for him to stand down from the Article 50 appeal.

The irony, as readers of Neuberger’s speeches will be well aware, is that the head of the Supreme Court has a record of sensitivity to populist sentiment and could even help to deliver the final Brexit ruling that The Telegraph and the Daily Mail crave.

Tweeting before the vote, TV producer Angela Holdsworth (aka Lady Neuberger) described the referendum as “mad and bad” and suggested that Brexit is “just a protest vote”. Other tweets include:

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Citing a section of the Supreme Court’s judicial code of conduct that states that the judges “will bear in mind that political activity by a close member of a justice’s family might raise concern in a particular case about the judge’s own impartiality and detachment from the political process”, a couple of Tory MPs reckon Neuberger’s position in next month’s Brexit case is “compromised”.

The Supreme Court has since released a statement affirming that:

Justices’ spouses are fully entitled to express personal opinions, including on issues of the day. Lady Neuberger’s passing comments on Twitter have absolutely no bearing on Lord Neuberger’s ability to determine the legal questions in this case impartially, according to the law of the land.

What has so far gone unmentioned in the row is Neuberger’s well-known record of expressing opinions that are sympathetic to anti-establishment views. Indeed, Inns of Court scuttlebutt indicates that he’s one of the judges who’d be more inclined to make a pragmatic call in the Brexit case rather than try to enforce the letter of the law.

Previously Neuberger has criticised globalisation and technology for “concentrating wealth in the hands of relatively few very rich individuals” and warned that political correctness risked creating a “censoriousness about what views people can publicly air”. He has also described “freedom only to speak inoffensively” as “a freedom not worth having”.

Anyone looking for an insight into his thinking should read this 2014 lecture he delivered — which in the wake of Brexit and Donald Trump’s US election win is spookily prescient.

Neuberger’s background, although privileged, is also markedly different to most top judges. Very unusually for a senior member of the judiciary he has experienced real failure, having as a young man not made the grade as a scientist and also seen a brief spell as a banker not work out. Turning to law, which he studied by doing a nine-month conversion course, the low-on-confidence young Neuberger was then turned down for an entry-level position three times, only managing to land a junior barrister job on his fourth attempt.

Although Neuberger’s career has soared since then, as he became a QC in 1987 and moved into the judiciary soon after, those who know him say that the difficulties he encountered in his 20s have stayed with him — and mark him out from some of his rather aloof colleagues.

At a time when there are growing concerns about loss of public confidence in the judiciary, it would be bad news for the country if the Supreme Court justice closest to the people was sidelined.

30 Comments

Trumpenkrieg

What the bumbaclart a “junior barrister job”?

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TrumpedTooLoudly

I see LCs favourite resident vainglorious t1t-in-chief is kicking off the week in characteristic fashion.

The tedium is oppressive..

(3)(7)

Trumpenkrieg

Do you even lift?

(4)(7)

TrumpedTooLoudly

Lift ? Wtf are you on about you prize tool ? Benching at the gym ?

Physical as well as mental narcissist. Roider too I imagine. Figures..

(5)(4)

Zyzz

U mad brah?

(3)(3)

Trumpenkrieg

You sound like one of these chronic joggers with low testosterone who lives on quinoa. Eat some steaks, lift some weights, and reconnect with the spirit of your forefathers, you cuck.

(2)(8)

TrumpedTooLoudly

It’s no good trying to recruit me into your cult of fkery. I am capable of independent thought you see.

Please carry on enjoying your endorphin rush when you stand face-on naked in front of a mirror though. If you like that sort of thing.

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Trumpenkrieg

Showing what an ignorant fool you are. Who says lifting is necessarily about aesthetics?

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TrumpedTooLoudly

I’m showing what an ignorant foo I am ??

Classic !! 😀

(4)(0)

Trumpenyawn

You’re so boring. No one is laughing at this faux Trump shtick you know.

(1)(0)

Trumpenkrieg

That’s why you keep coming back for more.

Anonymous

Fair comment!

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Not Amused

The only way to avoid politicising the judiciary is to stop asking the judiciary political questions.

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FrequentlyAmused

Yeah absolutely. Even when the political question isn’t in fact a political question at all but a point of constitutional law. In fact, they should totally leave constitutional law to whoever the party in power is. This won’t be a problem as once they do that, it can be the same party in perpetuity. Excellent idea.

Are you actually genuinely for real ? Because I’m starting to doubt it…. 😐

(32)(3)

Newburger LJ (with fries)

There’s hope for LC staff yet!

(1)(1)

SingaporeSwing

Fantastic article.

(3)(6)

Anonymous

Said no one, ever, about a Legal Cheek piece.

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Anonymous

Bad day?

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Anonymous

KFC make a good chili chicken neuberger.

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Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

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Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I don’t think I’ll read Legal Cheek anymore. I have nothing against the writing team but the comments section has become rather unpleasant of late. This alt-right stuff is childish and nasty. I am surprised that they’ve targeted this website. I doubt that many real lawyers would go in for that crap.

(15)(4)

Anonymous

Missed those 2 – but we all know it’s coming from the same dickhead don’t we. aka Trumpenkrieg aka Stallone.

Thinks he’s hilarious. In actuality about as funny as a decomposing sheep.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

I really feel for LC – the trolls stifle proper debate below the line and detract from good, thought provoking pieces like this. Even when the admin delete clearly defamatory posts, the trolls go crazy crying ‘censorship’. LC is stuck between a rock and a hard place dealing with this bunch of tools that want to ruin it for the rest of us.

(9)(1)

Gus

Let’s be honest here, LC’s site traffic would be far lower if they banned the bantz….

(3)(1)

Bumblebee

I have nothing against the LC comments policy. In fact, I think it’s sensible, mature and simple (much like me).

The problem is, however, that LC does not adhere to its own policy. It has started removing comments which are merely offensive, rather than ‘gratuitously offensive’.

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Corporate jungle king

I’m bored of your leftie high street nonsense. If you can’t take the heat, go back to your intensive kale farming.

(5)(4)

Anonymous

I would like to echo those comments above that are calling for stricter guidelines on commenting on LC articles. Not in a restrict-free-speech no jokes way. Just in a “please only comment if you have something valuable to add in terms of fact or opinion”. I know that LC will never attract the kind of comments one sees below UK Constitutional Law Blog articles, but one can dare to dream…

(5)(1)

Anonymous

Corbyn Sympathisers to the rescue

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Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

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