Two leading legal commentators aren’t being very nice about the president of the Supreme Court

Lawyers take aim at Lord Neuberger’s constitutional law know-how

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You can always count on the legal Twitterati to speak up when they see something they don’t agree with, and last week it was Lord Neuberger fueling their fire.

Lawyers David Allen Green and Carl Gardner — two of the most prominent presences in the legal Twittersphere — took to social media on Friday to take a swipe at the president of the Supreme Court, calling him out on his apparent lack of constitutional law knowledge.

It all started when Green accused Neuberger of “trolling us”, by suggesting that the UK has “no constitution”, just “constitutional conventions”.

He then asked former government lawyer Gardner — who has long taken exception to Neuberger’s constitutional law know-how — to get involved in the spat.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gardner duly accepted and the pair continued to take swipes at Neuberger’s position in a series of tweets, tagging the official Supreme Court account in all of them.

When Green asked the fellow blogger whether he thinks Neuberger is “wrong on constitution law”, Gardner rose to the challenge and replied “course he is”. He even went as far as to describe two of the Oxford educated justice’s most prolific judgments — Evans and Nicklinson — as “hopeless”.

It clearly isn’t just Green and Gardner — both of whom regularly blog on public law developments — that have strong views on the justice’s impression of the UK constitution. A number of other prolific lawyers jumped on board, some being less than sympathetic to Neuberger and his approach.

Update 12:31pm Tuesday 1 March — David Allen Green has posted a blog going into more detail about the views expressed in the tweets: ‘The Provocative President of the Supreme Court’.

21 Comments

Not Amused

Will you please stop forcing me to agree with David Allen Green???

(16)(9)
David Allen Green

I don’t even agree with the view this article attributes to me.

I think the President has a point. I was teasing Carl, who I knew would not.

(7)(3)
Graham King

which seemed obvious from the nature of the conversation.

(0)(0)
Just Anonymous

In other words:

Lord Neuberger PSC makes a subtle and nuanced point about an incredibly complex and difficult topic: the precise nature of the UK’s unwritten constitution.

Smart-arse lawyers on Twitter respond with a basic ‘argument from incredulity’ fallacy :
https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/personal-incredulity

Legal Cheek lap it up.

(45)(2)
Just Anonymous

One further point in response to Aileen McHarg’s invaluable contribution:

“Parliamentary sovereignty is not a convention! He’ll be mixing up the EU and ECHR next.”

Neuberger never said Parliamentary sovereignty (“PS”) itself was a convention. Rather he said we have constitutional conventions and said that PS was the consequence.

At least try to understand the position before you criticise it!

(19)(0)
David Allen Green

A point I actually agree with…

The point of my tweets was to tease Carl, not to disparage the President.

(4)(2)
Just Anonymous

Fair enough. I believe you. (On a matter so utterly trivial, life’s too short to do otherwise.)

Please consider my smart-arse jibe against you withdrawn!

(9)(0)
Anonymous

I think he is trolling them… “may be said with considerable force…” does not equal “I agree with those who say…”.

Anyone who’s ever been in front of a judge knows that when then say “Mr Smith forcefully submits that…” they mean “Despite his valiant efforts, Mr Smith has a terrible case…”.

(15)(0)
Anonymous

David Allen Green and Carl Gardner sound like stupid 5 year olds.

(11)(1)
Anonymous

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEF

(1)(0)
David Allen Green

Just shows what happens when tweets are taken out of context. I actually think the President had a point, and I was teasing Carl as I knew Carl would not.

Oh well.

(3)(4)
Anonymous

Wow. 2 vaguely known lawyers engage in poor banter on Twitter. I’d imagine the vastly distinguished President of the Supreme Court’s response might well be “who?”

(5)(0)
David Allen Green

In fact, when I was recently introduced to the President, that was indeed his very response!

(1)(0)
Not Amused

I am now delighted to discover that I don’t actually agree with David AG. It is a relief; albeit a relief currently drowned out by the sycophancy pouring from said commentator about David Neuberger.

Can I just remind everybody that this is the same David Neuberger who sat in Stack v Dowden? The same David Neuberger who sat in Prest v Petrodel? The same David Neuberger who sat in Bank of Cyprus UK Ltd v Menelaou?

I.e. – the same David Neuberger who someone who we know is actually clever (Graham Virgo) just described as producing “arguably the worst decision in the history of the Supreme Court, betraying such ignorance of the law and legal principle and such confusion about the nature of judging that one is left with a sense of bemusement bordering on anger.”

You can call a man the President of the paper clip committee if you want to. But before you all start fawning and doffing your caps might I suggest that you actually read his judgements?

This site is for young people. I consider it a very important part of a young person’s education to learn that in law, even the supposedly best lawyers make mistakes. Questioning and forming your own view are much more valuable than assuming someone is to be deferred to merely because of a title.

(0)(2)
Gladiatrix

Where did Graham Virgo say that? I have tried to find the source.

(0)(0)
Just Anonymous

Why do I get the impression NA once got roasted by Neuberger in court and still hasn’t got over it…

(6)(0)

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