The Rule of Law

Who would be a judge in the current febrile atmosphere where a High Court decision can provoke that organ of moderation The Daily Mail in stating that such judges were “enemies of the people”?

Frankly, even an old cynic like me was shocked by such an outrageous statement.

A very wise lawyer once told me that if you litigate you have to be ready to lose. Brexitiers attacked remainers for being sore losers, but when the boot is on the other foot … well??

Unlike some of the critics of the first so called Brexit judgment I actually read that judgment, which in my view was very balanced and logical. After all, the judges had simply concluded that parliament is sovereign and leaving the EC should be sanctioned by parliament not by a government using powers emanating from the Crown prerogative. Hardly revolutionary thinking by any standard, but admittedly inconvenient to the government.

The same issue is now being considered by 11 Supreme Court judges. The press and others are calling for the Supreme Court to reach a judgment that the ordinary man in the street can understand. The subtext behind this I guess is that judges should do nothing to foil the government’s efforts in triggering Article 50 via the Crown prerogative in order to facilitate the will of the people in voting to leave the EC.

Frankly, and many commentators now appear to agree on this, the referendum legislation was a complete dogs dinner which highlights how poorly drafted legislation can cause serious problems. With appropriate parliamentary legislation all these issues could have been avoided including the litigation that is now proceeding in the Supreme Court.

Judges must be independent and they must ignore press and political pressure. Their job is to consider the law and to rule on what is legal and what is not without fear or favour.

When loud voices seek to dictate judges’ decisions then that is mob rule not the rule of law.

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Paul Grimwood

Partner, Head of Dispute Resolution & Accredited Mediator

As Head of Dispute Resolution, Paul has extensive experience of dealing with a wide range of disputes focusing in particular on professional negligence, contentious trust...

Partner, Head of Dispute Resolution & Accredited Mediator

Paul Grimwood

As Head of Dispute Resolution, Paul has extensive experience of dealing with a wide range of disputes focusing in particular on professional negligence, contentious trust and estate cases and Inheritance Act claims where he acts for both claimants and defendants, trustees, executors and beneficiaries.

He is a member of the Professional Negligence Lawyers’ Association and the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists. He is also an ADR Group Accredited Mediator. Paul has, in the past, appeared on local radio as a “legal eagle” responding to listeners’ queries.

Passing his Law Society finals with First Class Honours Paul originally trained at Hart Brown. Having spent two years sharpening up his advocacy skills at another firm Paul returned to Hart Brown as a partner.

As one client put it: “I am very impressed with his thoroughness” and another: “A very professional service delivered in a very personal way”.

“With Hart Brown I had complete success with my claim against my former solicitor. At all stages I had the confidence to proceed based on the clear analysis and communication of my position. I have no hesitation in recommending Hart Brown and particularly Paul Grimwood”.

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