In a rare public interview, one of the UK’s more senior judges has questioned whether politicians could have been ’quicker and clearer’ in protecting the judiciary from unfair and unjustified media attacks- which he claims were essentially attacks on the rule of law.
Lord Neuberger, the President of the UK’s Supreme Court, has spoken out about the poor treatment of the judiciary following both the High Court and Supreme Court judgments, which decided whether the Government could bypass Parliament when invoking Article 50. His comments come in response to press hostilities such as the Daily Mail’s infamous front page headline which labelled the three judges deciding the High Court case; ‘Enemies of the People’. Lord Neuberger claimed that as ‘the ultimate guardians’ of the rule of law, an attack on the judiciary undermined the rule of law.
In its most basic form, the rule of law is the principle that no one is above the law. Together with democracy, it is one of the two pillars on which our society is based. Additionally, the doctrine of the separation of powers means that the three main institutions of state (the Government, the Judiciary and Parliament) function independently and that no individual has power that spans across these offices.
A free press is also sacrosanct and so this matter is a classic example of the balance that needs to be applied in cases of such huge public interest.
The president of the UK's Supreme Court has criticised politicians for not doing enough to defend judges following a row over the Brexit legal challenge. Lord Neuberger said politicians did not speak out quickly or clearly enough and some media attacks had been unfair.