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Lord Sumption admits breaking ‘absurd’ lockdown laws

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Ex-Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption raised eyebrows on social media yesterday evening when he apparently admitted breaking the government’s emergency lockdown restrictions.

The former top judge — who has been a vocal opponent of Number 10’s lockdown rules, previously describing them as the “greatest interference with personal liberty in our history” — is said to have fessed up to flouting some aspects of the “absurd” regulations during a Zoom-based webinar.

The online session, ‘Democracy and the Rule of Law in the Age of COVID-19’, was hosted by legal affairs journalist Joshua Rozenberg, who took to his own Twitter account to confirm Sumption’s rule-breaking revelation.

Reacting to the news, ICLR’s head of research, Daniel Hoadley wrote: “I find this particularly strange. To the extent that a moral dimension finds its way into this equation, it arguably has greater magnitude than the black letter dimension.” Meanwhile, Dr Julie Doughty, a law lecturer at Cardiff University, tweeted: “How can he know they are morally absurd if he’s not an epidemiologist?”

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek
Lord Sumption and Joshua Rozenberg — image credit: Catherine Baksi

Sumption, who stepped down from the top bench in 2018, previously penned an article for the Mail Online in which he argued that the decision when to end the lockdown was “purely political” — not scientific.

He gained unlikely support in the shape of rocket launching tech billionaire Elon Musk, who retweeted the article along with the line: “Well said, Lord Sumption, well said!”

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30 Comments

Anonymous

That’s the Old Etonian elite for you. Laws are for the little people. Selfish and self-entitled.

(63)(78)

Anonymous

I’d be willing to wager that ‘old Etonians’ are underrepresented in national crime statistics – many ‘little people’ happily broke the law to protest so your point is just bitter class sniping – dolt.

(66)(39)

Anonymous

You obviously missed the point. You keep defending that class privilege though.

(35)(21)

A literal frog

Implying there’s anything wrong with classism.

(2)(22)

Anon

Underrepresented sure, but that’s only because they’re not charged.

Willing to bet that at least a quarter of old Etonians could be charged for breaking drug laws in the country.

(39)(5)

Anon

A quarter is extremely generous. All but one of the Etonians I’ve met are massively into a bit of nose champagne on the reg.

(23)(0)

Justcie

Yes, protest against injustice and inequality and breaking rules for your no other reason than being selfish and impatient.

Good job doing words Anon!

(0)(2)

Observer

“How can he know they are morally absurd if he’s not an epidemiologist?”

This has to be one of the stupidest statements ever made by anyone, ever. Well done Dr Julie Doughty.

(76)(14)

Anon

It’s almost as if our whole political system is based on the right of people to make decisions about matters of which they have no specialist knowledge

(0)(0)

Anonymous

So he gets to assess which law applies to him? How entitled.

(31)(12)

Not a literal frog

To be fair, assessing when laws apply *is* his job 😛

(11)(2)

Anonymous

Yeah when it’s subject to challenge in a case before him. Not in his everyday life. Have you not read any HLA Hart?

(5)(8)

AZ

7.06 missed the point. Nothing worse than someone thinking they are being smart when in fact it shows their ignorance.

(3)(1)

Anon

I think it’s a ref to one of his Reith lectures on BBC last year – he argues that, whilst the law applies to everybody, people are not always morally required to follow the law.

(10)(0)

Chad

Lord Sumption is so alpha. Serious big dick energy.

(49)(5)

Just Anonymous

My concern is this.

Infectious disease is a part of life. It always has been, and it always will be.

I accept that this particular disease is fundamentally different, and more dangerous than what we’re normally used to. And that, to address the increased risk it poses, some fundamental restrictions to our normal way of life may have been necessary (and may continue to be necessary for a limited time).

However, there must come a time when we get back to normal.

What concerns me is the possibility that we never get back to normal (or we get back to normal far later than we should) because certain people wish to relax restrictions only when the risk has been eliminated entirely – which is never going to happen.

(42)(8)

No jelly fish

This is the crux of all this, this is nothing to do with public safety it is s coup, plain and simple. The erosion of liberty using emergency tactics is one of the oldest tricks in the book of despots. 2 + 2 = 5, one get back in line folks and trust our scheme, sorry science.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

BLM broke the lockdown rules and the authorities didn’t care.

So why should anyone else obey them?

(53)(11)

FlourPour

Is BLM an acronym for Dom Cummings? Boris’s Lord and Master.

(35)(22)

Anonymous

What a shame he chose this hill to die on in his retirement. This is what he’ll be remembered for, you know, not any case he argued or judgment he wrote.

(6)(18)

Anonymous

Barton v Wright Hassall

(0)(0)

AZ

Not sure his judgments are worth remembering. Mainly calcification of 19th century black letter law to support the capital owners with leverage. Classic example of privileged elite unimaginatively protecting their own without any evidence of compassion.

(2)(2)

Anon

Breaching the lockdown rules is arrogant and wrong, but I can forgive Lord Sumption in this instance. It’s entirely reasonable in his circumstances to break the rules in order to get an emergency haircut, or at least buy a comb.

(4)(6)

Boris the coke snorting pervert

Isn’t it our moral duty to NOT follow the law when the purpose of that law is compromised by ill will towards those it’s designed to protect?

Bravo me Lud!

(12)(1)

Colour me shooketh

You mean to tell me that someone with power and influence flouted the rules whilst the general public, mostly, did not? This hasn’t happened on many occasions in the last few months and comes as a total surprise.

(2)(3)

Jock1960

“the general public, mostly, did not (break the rules)”? Seriously?! I don’t know a single person who didn’t break at least one of the rules, many of which were in fact only guidance and had no force in law . An example is the “rule” that you were only allowed to exercise once a day and could not drive somewhere to take that exercise, something which Nanny Hancock was forced to admit was never in the Coronavirus regulations before going on to say that the Government would “prefer” people to exercise close to home.

(6)(0)

No jelly fish

Here here roar roar whoosh whoosh, yes guidance not force over law, by law regulation notes not trite law… here here

(0)(0)

Anon

I really don’t think class has anything to do with following/not following the Covid rules. People from all walks of life (including Eton/public schools) have followed or broken the rules at their own discretion. Making this about one’s socio-economic background is frankly myopic.

(3)(0)

AZ

“I’m arrogant and selfish.” Still he should be allowed to opt out of the laws as long as he also opts out of hospital care if he gets it.

(1)(1)

No jelly fish

This is the crux of all this, this is nothing to do with public safety it is s coup, plain and simple. The erosion of liberty using emergency tactics is one of the oldest tricks in the book of despots. 2 + 2 = 5, one get back in line folks and trust our scheme, sorry science.

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.

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