One Crown Office Row QCs sign open letter slamming Liz Truss’ ‘inadequate defence’ of Brexit judges

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Top silks have publicly slammed the Lord Chancellor Liz Truss for failing adequately to defend the judges involved in the Brexit legal challenge.

In an open letter (pictured below) to Truss, 17 QCs from Temple-based set One Crown Office Row have revealed they were left “dismayed” by her “inadequate defence” of The Lord Chief Justice, Sir Terence Etherton and Lord Justice Sales.


Branded “ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE” by one newspaper, the top legal trio have come under heavy fire since the historic ruling last Thursday that stated Article 50 invocation must be conditional on parliamentary approval.

The letter — which was posted on Twitter yesterday evening by legal affairs journalist Joshua Rozenberg QC — gently reminds Truss that the judges “had not invited proceedings but were undertaking their solemn task of ruling on the dispute before them according to the law”.

Branding the abuse “ill-founded”, the letter — which is hand-signed by ex-Bar Council chairman Guy Mansfield QC — quotes a speech made by Truss during her swearing in ceremony back in July, in which she claimed “we [UK] have the greatest judiciary in the world”.

So perhaps, Lord Chancellor, it’s time to stand by it.



I don’t think it comes as any surprise that she’s not up to the job


Gus the Snedger

Liz TRUSS should have given more support!





Since when did Liz Truss have editorial censorship powers over the front page of the Daily Mail and The Sun? Are their headlines so objectionable that it needs to be censored – or is it something that they just disagree with?

More to the point – what happened to freedom of speech? A debate? The ability to put forward an opposing view?

QCs from COR trying to silence a view that is different from their own……… you should meet ideas with ideas and debate – not try and shut it down altogether.

The letter from these QCs is a bit amateurish / childish in its sarcastic tone – “we recall your fine words…….” Another review of QC selection processes is needed.



I don’t think anyone has claimed that Liz Truss has any editorial censorship powers over the Daily Fail.

However, she is a member of the Government. Her fellow members (i.e. Sajid Javid) have attacked the judiciary for doing their job. She needs to be publicly reminding Javid and co. that the Judiciary is independent (and for good reason)



You’re missing the point. The press can say what they want so long as they don’t break the law but it’s the job of the Lord Chancellor to defend the judiciary when they are subjected to attacks such as that perpetrated by the Daily Mail, a number of MPs and other public figures. The judges aren’t able to defend themselves in public. It has nothing to do whatever with silencing the press or the Lord Chancellor’s personal or political position on leaving the EU. She has more or less abdicated her constitutional role and many lawyers and others who take an interest consider it a fundamental failing on her part



Oh purleeease. Review of QC selection – get over yourself ! She may not have editorial responsibility for these rags but she still has a constitutional duty (and one that isn’t some assumed convention but there in black lettering on rolls of ‘king velum !!!) to speak up for the judiciary.

It’s not just freedom of speech though is it. It’s dangerous and incendiary nonsense deliberately designed to stir up those that only read this crap and have no idea how to get a balanced view – or even the damn truth in the first place. Which she, by doing nothing other than a few feeble mutterings at the 11th hour, lends complicit credence to…

I mean for Christ’s sake, if you have half a brain, surely – even if you are absolutely head over in heels in love with the idea of Brexit and the current shambles that is PM and Cabinet – can see how wrong that is ! Can’t you ?



The process for QC appointments (like the process for judicial appointments) remains controversial, despite significant challenges bought by the office of fair trading and resulting reforms.

Before it was a system that lacked transparency, of secret sounding chambers and social connections. It’s changing, but it’s not competency focused nor based on continuing professional assessment or objective measures. Many QCs are brilliant, but a large chunk are (sorry to say this) bog standard. – and it’s unfair and misleading to consumers in the legal market / clients hence office of fair trading intervention. a lot of QCs are there based on who they know and social / personal relationships as opposed to actual competency or merit.

If you took silk under the old selection process, it’s a bit meaningless. If you took it under the reformed selection process, it’s slightly better. Even QCs themselves know this. Not controversial, pick up any English legal system textbook (ie year 1 LLB syllabus stuff).



Yeah, thanks for the lecture. None of this is new or news.

And it’s got cock-all to do with anything. The reason 1COR have put their silks on that letter is because they’re the senior members of Chambers.

Yes, I know that’s obvious as well but you started it.



Started what exactly? A simple debate or expression of a different view?

Glad to see you at least acknowledge the QC selection process is dodgy. That it amounts to an arbitrary label that artificially pushes up the cost of legal services for consumers who don’t know any better. This is from a profession that prides itself on honesty and ethics. Point is – What significance should you attach to a letter from supposedly senior members of chambers when the selection process is controversial? Their view is no more important than any ordinary person.

The COR letter from its QCs (however appointed) represents one view trying to silence another view, all I’m saying is that a QC that is worth its salt will engage in debate and not exaggerate criticism of a decision they don’t happen to agree with. They would also defend the right of anyone to have an opposing view.

Trying to stifle an opposing view (or encouraging governments to do so) smacks of insecurity in relation to the merits of your own argument.

That the COR letter from its QCs does the mean


Stated the bleeding obvious. Stop being so sanctimonious.

You’re trying to steer this into some point you want to make about the QC selection process when this is about Truss falling way short of her statutory obligations – tenuous at best.

The judges can’t speak up for themselves and since she and her government won’t then the obvious people, who also carry some weight behind their argument, that are going to give expression to their dismay at this are senior lawyers. I commend 1COR for doing this. If you choose not to then that’s your choice (and right).


Hi Liz



You’re a moron. You don’t understand the law of the role of the Judiciary.
Btw, did you vote leave?


Not Amused

Dear god. This is the silliest thing yet to happen post Brexit.

Will we have to offer Terry and John counselling? Perhaps a universal ‘safe space’ for all the delicate flowers of the High Court? Will 1CR be offering free hugs to the SCJs in advance of the appeal?

Complete and utter tosh (oooo but look at the free publicity) … The thinly veiled pro-Remain machinations are really pushing the definition of disingenuous.


Dr Strangelove

The judges themselves won’t give a fig about what the press has to say about them individually. This has absolutely nothing to do with the judges personally and everything to do with deliberately and recklessly (on the part of the tabloids) undermining public confidence in the judiciary. That is what so bad about this.

Liz Truss is supposed to be upholding public confidence in the judiciary, but her rather pathetic statement did nothing of the sort. I think this response is entirely justified.


Not Amused

I’m afraid the judges undermined confidence in the judiciary. All the papers did was reflect the mood of their purchasers in order to sell more copies.

This myth that the papers tell people what to think is just part of the snobbery on the left/remain side. The analysis is too simplistic. Papers can influence but people are not zombies to be programmed.

It’s always Guardian readers, who despite buying the quinoa pushed in the lifestyle pages, picking up that ethical cleaning product they read about and deciding were their morality lies based on the last celebrity column, who start waffling on piously about those poor fools brainwashed by the media …



“I’m afraid the judges undermined confidence in the judiciary.”

So, for clarity, in your professional opinion, if a judge considers that the correct legal result will be unpopular, they should reverse their decision to provide a more popular outcome? Despite being concluding that the correct legal analysis fell one way, they ought to have found a way to manufacture the opposite (and legally incoherent and incorrect) result so as to avoid undermining confidence in the judiciary? That is the only conclusion that can be drawn from your first sentence above.

Your last post convinces me, more than ever before, that you are not a lawyer at all. It is moronic. I rather suspect you are frustrated law student who can’t find a pupillage so instead sits in his mum’s house moaning about how unfair the world is and opining anonymously online on issues he knows sweet F.A. about.


Not Amused

If you want to use Iplayer, you can watch last night’s Newsnight interview of Igor Judge where he says the same thing I just said.

It is not acceptable to argue the way you argue.


Yes, they undermined public confidence – they interpreted the law in a way she disagreed with and therefore it follows that that’s precisely what they did… These judges know nothing, just wait till she gets on the bench, then you’ll see some changes. Oh you just wait…

What has she got against quinoa anyway ? Did she once see Lord Thomas (sorry John, we all know John) eating a wrap walking up Shoe Lane when she was having a bad day ?


It’s odd that when ‘progressive’ newspapers and commentators lambast criminal judges and magistrates for, for example, being establishment-minded, perpetuating rape myths and victim blaming, reflexively siding with the police, placing greater emphasis on crimes against property than against people, and on and on…we don’t get told that the judiciary is under attack and the rule of law is threatened.

It’s not very long ago that the judges in the Evans appeal got it in the neck in the pages of the Guardian – less hysterically than the tabloids have been doing recently, certainly; but no less persuasively, if you want to believe that the papers can undermine trust in the judiciary and the judicial process.



So it’s quite OK to label them as “Enemies of the People” then – as the Völkischer Beobachter did similarly to their *independent* judiciary in 1933.




Please can we stop drawing comparisons to the Third Reich? It’s a tired cliché and not the most accurate comparison – there are plenty of other self-proclaimed ‘democracies’ in the the world today that undermine the rule of law on a daily basis. It’s just that drawing comparisons with those jurisdictions doesn’t have the same impact, and so people lazily refer to a political establishment that massacred millions of people decades ago. Waving about the atrocities perpetuated during the Third Reich whenever you disagree with something in modern Britain risks rendering banal (or ‘banaliser’, as the French would say) those atrocities and marks of Nazi power. And it’s just ludicrous to even suggest the current political situation in the UK comes close.



The current situation doesn’t come close – you’re absolutely correct.
It is, however, coming closer…
All we need now is to economically impoverish the nation and cause a populist uprising. Now what might be a rather nifty way of achieving that end ? Hmm….



Interloper, I suggest you see a shrink if you truly believe we are ‘coming close’ to a situation analogous to the Third Reich. Seriously, get some help.



OK, sage advice from a clear sage there. So, just tried to book an appointment – but it’s going to take 6 months on the NHS. In spite of this £350m/wk they’re now getting.

Only one way down a slippery slope mate. Remember that.


We have a freak in the building.


Oh yeah, £350m, great. That wouldn’t even build a hospital to address the 300,000 net immigrants that flooded in during the last year. Can’t get an appointment? Blame Andrei for taking your spot under your precious “freedom of movement”.


A barrister

The language being used in the press today is very close to the language used by Nazi-supporting papers in Germany in the 1930s.

It is, or should be, salutary to point that out.

The Lord Chancellor’s failure to fulfill her duty is extraordinary and in my view should disqualify her from holding her office.



It may well be ‘very close’ if you like to:

i) Rip words from the context in which they are said (here historical/political/social context)
ii) Ignore the limitations of translation

Get a grip



The Daily Mail WAS a Nazi-supporting paper in the 1930s.

Google their “hurrah for the brown shirts” headline praising the Nazis. It’s easy to find…


And most of the British left-wing supported Stalin before the atrocities of his reign of terror were fully uncovered.

Doesn’t mean the Guardian today supports the Soviet Union.


Well, just a thought but I don’t really think there would really be much point in The Guardian today supporting the Soviet Union..

Not Amused

“Well, just a thought but I don’t really think there would really be much point in The Guardian today supporting the Soviet Union..”

Agreed. But someone really ought to tell Mr Corbyn.


But Corbyn doesn’t own the Guardian..

(like you I’m not a fan btw)


why have a referendum in the first place?



We will jut ignore the result anyway

And scream down any opposition to ignoring the result ……



Conservative party threatened by rise of UKIP – a way to win back votes, that rather hysterically backfired.


Not Amused

“Please can we stop drawing comparisons to the Third Reich?”

No. They can’t. It’s like a sort of Tourette’s. Every Remainiac knows in their core that the only way to win any argument is to maximise the hyperbole, issue dire threats and call your opponents racists/Nazis.

It’s how they won the referendum.

Incidentally I was talking to a close friend who voted remain. We were musing on how the 10% of extremist Leavers and the 10% of extremist Remainers are really just as irritating as each other. Anna Soubry and Nigel Farrage – why would you invite either to supper?

What will very slowly happen is that those of us in the middle, now we have accepted the result, will move forward together causing minimum fuss and just getting on with things. Hopefully these two tiny groups – the racists and the people obsessed with calling everyone a racist will somehow cancel each other out.



You’re not in the middle, mate. You’re a tool who takes any opportunity you can find to insult anyone who doesn’t agree with the Gospel According to Not Amused. You are, in short, an extremist.



Virtue signalling.

What is so special about judges that they can’t take a bit of flak from the press?

MPs and the Government get it on a daily basis and nobody leaps to defend them.



Terry did nothing wrong.



In her defence, I liked ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’.


Stephen Phillips QC MP

I cringed at the use of “yourself” in the sentence: “Without an independent judiciary supported by the executive and above all, yourself…”

Incorrectly using the reflexive pronoun is the domain of a third-rate provicincial conveyancer.



provicincial, Steve? Cringe



Moreover, in view of the word “provincial” (I shall assume that’s what you meant, guess that’s what you get for going to Canford School), the word “third-rate” is rather otiose.


Liz Truss

Cheese! 🙂


Simka Dablitz

Ah shuddupya ya faces. Why do ya insist on calling da minister for injustice the Lord Chancellor. Da post of Lord Chancellor was abolished. Why da fug dun you kuvaks know dat?
Who now represents da keepers of da grund norms? QCs? You must be joking. It is only da judiciary keeping you Anglskis from da Tyranny of da silver spooners. Dun ya know nuttin?
O nice to see Not Amused has sussed da Theoretik Kuantum von Insanity.


Simka Dablitz

Who is da sleaze ball dat dun like my words?
Have da cahonskis to make answer rather dan slither in da slime of da Anon pond bottom feeding life.



Flush yourself.


Remains of the Day

There are 65 million people in the UK.

17 million voted to leave the EU.

Ergo 48 million people did NOT vote to leave the EU.

Therefore more people did not vote to leave than voted to leave.

Therefore “Remain” won and we should stay in.

Why can’t the rabid fascist racist Brexiters see that???



You are aware that several million of that 65m are children under the age of 18 who cannot vote, and prisoners who cannot vote, and those who lack the mental capacity to be able to vote? 48m did not vote to stay.
A large percentage of the electorate didn’t vote at all and there is no way of knowing whether that percentage would have voted to stay in or to leave the EU.


Amrit Lohia

In any plebiscite, the default position is to keep things the same, and the alternative “change” option needs a clear majority in support; at least, that was what Napoleon intended when he invented the referendum as a political device. This is normally enforced by a requirement of an absolute majority of the population voting in favour, but as that was not a requirement in the horribly-drafted EU Referendum Act, the commenter “Remains of the Day” is absolutely correct to make the argument that he does, and indeed even if an absolute majority had been achieved, there would be plenty of reasons to nevertheless stay in the best supranational organisation humans have ever created, in particular the fact that “democracy” gives power to the angry mob and so its results are incredibly unreliable; hence Plato’s idea of philosopher-kings, or the modern concept of a committee of academic experts (in economics, sociology, etc.), who would scrutinise every policy to determine if it would achieve its intended outcomes, would work much better.


Cicero says...

Your post reeks of presumption: what is your position when the news is gently broken to you that your pottage of historical and classical references does not in fact mark you out as philosopher-king material and that you will therefore not be one of The Chosen Ones, but merely one of the subjects of the lofty disdain of your superiors?



On that basis no government elected in the past 50 years has ever had the right to rule.

The people who don’t vote acquiesce to whatever the people who do vote, by a majority, decide.



In addition to the points by Gladiatrix, might I add the population of the UK according to the census is just over 51 million, so your assertion of 65 million is only 14 million too high. With that close grasp on numbers I can understand why your point is so rubbish.


Amrit Lohia

The estimated population of the United Kingdom in the 2011 census was 63.182 million of whom 31.029m were male and 32.153m female, according to

Thus you are yourself innumerate…


Simka Dablitz

Flush yourself is an ad hominem Kuvar.
This thread has an IQ of 122 according to our diagnostics. Ergo we shall introduce Latin knowledge.


Simka Dablitz da Romanio







Judging from the evidence, many of those who voted (and indeed quite a few writing comments on Legal Cheek) clearly lack sufficient mental capacity to do so, but that didn’t stop ’em.



“We are barristers who were appointed to the rank of Queen’s Counsel by previous holders of the office of Lord Chancellor.”

Could there possibly be a more pompous way of starting a letter than this?

Embarrassing and foolish.


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