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Lady Hale takes aim at Liz Truss for failing to adequately defend Brexit judges in wake of Daily Mail ‘enemies of the people’ headline

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‘Unfortunate example’

The president of the Supreme Court has criticised the former Lord Chancellor Liz Truss for failing to adequately defend judges involved in the Article 50 legal challenge.

In a speech delivered in the House of Lords earlier this month and published yesterday, Lady Hale stressed how it was vitally important to have a Lord Chancellor who is willing to “speak up” for judges “at the heart of government”. Appearing to take aim at Truss and her lacklustre response following the Daily Mail‘s highly-controversial “enemies of the people” headline, Hale continued:

“But we have had an unfortunate example of the member of the government charged with upholding the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary not coming to the defence of the judges as quickly or as firmly as many thought should have happened.”

The High Court ruled over two years ago that the lawful invocation of Article 50 was conditional on a free vote in parliament. The Daily Mail, a pro-Brexit newspaper at the time, went on to publish a story (front page pictured below) which claimed the court’s decision had deliberately blocked Brexit and that the judges who heard the case — Lord Thomas, Sir Terence Etherton, and Lord Justice Sales — were “enemies of the people”.

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At the time, the then Lord Chancellor Truss was heavily criticised for her inadequate defence of the judiciary. In one example of lawyer outrage, seventeen QCs at London’s 1 Crown Office Row described in an open letter to the Conservative MP how they had been left “dismayed” by her tame response.

Hales comments came just a week after Paul Dacre, who was the Daily Mail’s editor until earlier this summer, defended the newspaper’s decision to run the headline. Speaking at the Society of Editors’ Conference in Manchester this month, Dacre said the newspaper “should have the freedom to write a headline about judges being the enemy of the people”.

Read Lady Hale’s speech in full:

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15 Comments

Anonymous

This is what happens when a non-lawyer is appointed as Lord Chancellor.

Shady Fail

This is also what happens when a socially and intellectually inept, divorced, senile horse gets appointed in charge of the Supreme Court!

Anonymous

I assume she also criticised Lord Hain?

Anonymous

These judges are such precious little snowflakes.

Anonymous

The modern Lord Chancellor role is a joke compared to the illustrious lawyers who used to hold the prestigious role.

feasel

“The High Court ruled over two years ago that the lawful invocation of Article 50 was conditional on a free vote in parliament.”

No it did not. The High Court ruled and declared that the Crown, acting by the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, could not give notice pursuant to Article 50 under prerogative powers.

The High Court was not asked and did not attempt to answer the question of how the Crown might be empowered to give notice pursuant to Article 50, although it did acknowledge the trite common ground that the Crown in Parliament is the supreme law making body in the United Kingdom.

The Court did not require that an Act of Parliament be passed to empower the executive to give the Article 50 notice, much less require that such an act be passed by “a free vote”. Courts are not entitled to enquire how an Act of Parliament was passed, more trite constitutional law for you.

The standard of journalism, particularly legal journalism, on this website is very poor at times.

Oppidan

Faulkners fault for changing the rules for the LC.

W@nker then led the criticism of Truss (who is a useless bloody person I agree)

Anonymous

Sometimes they are though. Although I don’t agree with the headline in this case, people shouldn’t be afraid to publicly criticise judges for bad decisions.

Matthew Shardlake

When judges interfere with the will of the people, what do they expect? The people voted and rather than decline jurisdiction, The Courts interfered. The courts are completely out of touch with society which was recently demonstrated by the brutal treatment of those three young solicitors who had been enslaved. One mistake cost them their career and what to the courts think – suck it up!

Anonymous

Bold move posting this on legal cheek

Ciaran Goggins

Liz Truss? Did nowt about corruption in Norfolk Constabulary. Oh well, biggest private prosecution in UK legal history will sort that out then.

Anonymous

Oh for heaven’s sake.

Judges are enormously important and influential public servants. Of course they’re fair game for even the strongest opinion.

Why is it that when the left-wing papers attack judges – often about the treatment in court of sex offence victims or about the rights of refugees – that acerbic criticism is OK, but not on the front of the Daily Mail?

Absolute bollocks.

Anonymous

Actually those three judges were enemies of the people, albeit not very effective ones, since Brexit is happening and it feels gooooood

Anonymous

The idea that judges should never be criticised is a Soviet rather than an English tradition.

In England we expect our judges to be good enough that they do not fear democracy.

Oppidan

The point is not that judges were criticised it is that the LC didnt have the character to back her team.

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