Are British Judges Influenced by Mobs?

As is my way, I am about to say things which will infuriate my left wing friends, my liberal elite friends and my right wing friends. All will think my opinions quite beyond the pale (though a few kinder people may say they have some of the characteristics of the curate’s egg). This blogging lark, especially if one doesn’t adopt the entire package presented by one of the warring factions, really does require one to develop a thick skin.

Today’s topic, Mr Farage’s proposed pointless mass demonstration outside the Supreme Court, is bound to enrage pretty well everyone. Never mind. I will fire away and then await the fury.

I start by saying that, though I accept people ought to be permitted to engage in peaceful demonstrations, I am convinced that they usually achieve nothing at all, except to irritate others whose lives are disrupted by them. That will annoy the extremes of both the left and the right, who are convinced that getting lots of people on the streets shouting slogans is the best way to win arguments. The liberal elite will be more tolerant of me on this point, but only for a few moments.

Why only for a few moments? Let me explain.

When I read that Mr Trump’s best friend, Nigel Farage, was organising a mass demonstration outside the Supreme Court when the Article 50 appeal gets under way, my immediate thought was that he was completely barmy. Did he really think that our most senior judges would be influenced, when interpreting the law, by a lot of noisy demonstrators screaming at them that they should allow the government’s appeal?

Then, for a rather silly moment, I thought it just possible the judges might be influenced, though obviously not in the way Mr Farage hopes. Judges are, after all, human. Was it not conceivable that one or two of them might resolve to demonstrate their independence by finding against the government, even though they thought the High Court had got the law wrong, so as to show they weren’t influenced by mobs?

I then dismissed that silly thought from my mind. The judges have all taken a very serious judicial oath. Never for a moment would any of them allow a mob to dictate their rulings on the law.

But then, and you know what’s coming, I discovered that a former Lord Chief Justice, the man with the appropriate name of Lord Judge, had said that it was important the Supreme Court should dismiss the government’s appeal so as to make it clear that judges paid no attention to demonstrations. Were the Supreme Court to conclude that the royal prerogative could be used to trigger Article 50, he seemed to be saying, that would be interpreted as judges giving in to frightfully common demonstrators. That would be appalling. Better, by far, that the law should be wrongly interpreted than that there should be any perception that judges had been influenced by demonstrators.

My liberal elite friends, of course, will be entirely with Lord Judge. Which is why they will join with my lefty and righty pals in saying I am the devil incarnate. In a few hundred words I have offended you all. I am getting used to that. I am determined not to be suicidal.

I will close by saying that I think Lord Judge to be out on a limb. I don’t think, for one moment, that any of the Justices of the Supreme Court will allow Mr Farage’s fatuous demonstration to sway them one way or the other.

Charles

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15 thoughts on “Are British Judges Influenced by Mobs?

  1. Blimey, Charles, this reads like a sort of judicial “Catch 22” situation or a Brian Rix farce.

    Naturally I blame the whole thing on Nigel Farage: trust him to complicate matters unnecessarily. I thought the dear chap was safely ensconced in the bosom of another character in this devious scenario, that nice Mr Trump. Let’s blame it on him instead. Nigel is just as yet an unpaid extra!

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  2. What a mad time, Trump and Farage, now throw into the mix Tim Farron, leader of the libdums,who was promising to throw Brexit into disaray. I am off behind the sofa for the next few months.

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  3. I am perfectly happy with the way things are. Brexit and Trump both went my way and I enjoy gloating over snowflakes in melt down trauma.

    The Guardian has a couple of articles that are quite embarrassing in their displays of hate. They keep accusing us right wingers of being hateful but we are little lambs compared to some of their columnists and supporters.

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  4. Afraid I’m going to be boring and agree with you again. I hope it doesn’t happen the next time you post. Three in a row might be more than I can take..

    Of course, judges should be neither influenced by mobs nor by those saying they shouldn’t be influenced by mobs. Farage seems to have completely lost the plot over this, having argued for sovereignty and then getting upset with our courts exercising it. However, it is not the business of the court to find against Mr Farage because he (alas) isn’t in court.

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  5. Thank you for an entertaining read. I am afraid I did rather badly at following the logic by which British judges might demonstrate their independence so I attempted to think through the situation. Judges could be driven to insist on having the choice of which law to apply – a legal sweet shop – their legal confection might (regrettably) subvert the will of Parliament and indeed, and with a bit of thought, a situation could be contrived in which the Principle of Subsidiarity is (accidentally) used to overturn democratic decisions of nation states. Couldn’t happen here though, surely?

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