The start of a new week brings a few themes and a matter of some concern.
Twitter is attracting a fair number of practising lawyers. @John_Cooper_QC pops in fairly frequently with a mix of musings and observations. I was particularly interested to read a quote from a fascinating article in The Guardian: Miscarriages of justice are slipping off the public radar
“It was reported over the weekend that John Cooper QC had called for an overhaul of the CCRC. The silk, who advised Barry George, was talking at the annual Ewan Davies law lecture following the case of George Davis, whose conviction for a robbery in 1974 was last week ruled unsafe by the appeal judges. Davis first applied to the CCRC for a review of his conviction in July 2001 and a second time six years later. “The commission promised so much, but is just not delivering,” Cooper said. “Innocent people have been, without a doubt, locked up, some for over 10 years, for crimes they did not commit and the commission is failing to help them.”
I tend to sit up and listen or read when those at the coal face are critical about the legal system. The article by Jon Robins is well worth a read.
The UK Human Rights Blog notes… Film those pesky judges?.. I’m in favour of the filming of the proceedings in the Supreme Court. I am not so sure that it is a wise idea to film criminal proceedings – for the reasons advanced in this article from The Guardian. I can see the value of filming the sentencing in criminal cases. I suspect that filming of complex or even not so complex civil cases will not attract the money men who will pay for the TV rights.
Adam Wagner of The UK Human Rights blog has an excellent piece today…. Who should appoint our top judges?
Recently, I have become a collector of visceral reactions by politicians to judgments. The Prime Minister David Cameron is leading the field, having been “uneasy“, “appalled” and even feeling “physically sick” over recent rulings. And this week the Scottish First Minister has appointed a panel of experts to see whether the UK’s Supreme Court’s “aggressive” interference with Scottish law can be stopped. But where is this criticism leading?
I happened to listen again to my podcast with Lord Falconer on “Assisted Dying and The Supreme Court” last night. Co-incidentally, John Cooper QC is writing a paper for a seminar on the complex issue of assisted dying and I wanted to check the content was of some current value before passing the link on to him. If you haven’t heard the podcast, Lord Falconer talks about the reasons behind the foundation of the new UK Supreme Court. It is well worth a listen to and is about a third of the way through the podcast, if you care to listen to it. Having gone to the trouble of separating the judiciary from the executive and parliament – I am not so keen to see politicians getting too closely involved in the appointment of or confirmation hearings for judges.