Sunday, March 18, 2012

judgments should be more accessible - and it is right that judges them

What the judges of the court? One of the most senior judges, Lord Neuberger has proposed some principles for "extrajudicial" statements. These are likely to shape the judicial contributions to public debate for some time to come, but do not go far enough?

The starting point is known: it is "completely inappropriate" for politicians to criticize judges or their decisions. There must be "mutual respect" between ministers and the judiciary. If the "slang from each other in public" that violates the Constitution, democracy and the rule of law. While openness is welcome, the content is not too surprising.

Neuberger becomes

But does this mean for the judiciary -. And here it gets interesting

mutual respect means

Minister and judges "must respect the territory and not to walk." This means that judges should not "reply". It is "indecent and undermine" to do so. However, this does not mean that judges should not speak at all. However, Neuberger said extrajudicial comments "more advantages than disadvantages." While prudence dictates and warns against the judges not to "seek publicity for their own good", or to investigate causes, the seven principles of the autonomy of judges to speak.

Neuberger is essentially correct. The individual and collective experience of the judiciary and the constitutional role established, means that they contribute to public debate on the content and process of justice. The challenge is how to do so without endangering the functions constitiutional of any branch. State

One way is obviously through trials. This does not mean that judicial activism, but - what is different - judicial involvement. The judges have made specific comments on a number of issues such as laws on police interviews, the procedures in the terrorism trial, or who care for children who have committed serious crimes. For the general public, the problem is many judgments are inaccessible. There are some excellent open database of appeals decisions, but most of the judgments of trial and sentence comments are not reported and are not available to the public. It is time this was changed, particularly when one considers that the deposits should be minimal. An alternative route is through speech or written materials. During the week, the ICC issued its first judgment, Reflections of a trial judge Sir Adrian Fulford by - Judge in the Lubanga case and a judge of the Supreme Court - is an important contribution. Judges can express and explain the horse's mouth that the judicial system works and what they see as the major contemporary issues. CJ and Neuberger speakers themselves are exemplary in this regard. The mission of the Supreme Court includes the promotion of "knowledge of how justice should be properly managed." It is true that judges are involved in their judgments.

The traditional position is that the judges "I can not comment on public policy", but I can not comment on "the practical consequences of certain policy options." We recently heard Justice Secretary Ken Clarke told the Joint Committee on Human Rights in the tests to examine the Green Paper proposals to close the proceedings in civil matters.

for Neuberger, however, judges do not seem so limited. When politics "is at the heart of the functioning of the judiciary", then it is simply a permissible comment, but it is certainly a judicial duty to comment. Well, you might think in camera, access to testing and evaluation of tests in this category. A contribution to justice and legal security debate to inform and improve the process and policy decisions are taken.

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