Anthony Lester

Anthony Lester is a practising barrister, a Liberal Democrat working peer, chairman of the Charter 88 Trust and president of Interights (the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights).

Judges and Ministers

Anthony Lester, 18 April 1996

Are judges flirting with ‘judicial supremacism’ by questioning the sovereignty of Parliament? Or are ministers flouting the rule of law, by interfering with judicial independence? Is the Government minded to hobble the judges’ powers to review the way in which ministers and other public officers exercise their powers? Should British courts be given greater powers to remedy breaches of basic human rights and freedoms, or would that mean turning judges into unelected politicians? Are judges competent to decide questions of public policy? Do we need a code of modern constitutional principles to guide the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government? Or are we better advised, as Conor Gearty advised us (LRB, 16 November 1995), not to give more power to ‘unelected, unrepresentative and unaccountable judges’ by weaving the European Human Rights Convention into the fabric of British law, but instead to reform Parliament and the electoral system, and devolve power away from the already over-powerful central government?

Letter
The answer to Professor John Griffith’s question (Letters, 4 July) is contained in my Human Rights Bill, which was passed by the House of Lords last year. I believe that the European Convention on Human Rights (and for that matter the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) should be given the same status in English law as European Community law. In other words, existing and future...

Terms of Art: Human Rights Law

Conor Gearty, 11 March 2010

In January 1999, Colin Middleton hanged himself in prison. He’d been in custody since 1982, when he was convicted – aged 14 – of murdering his 18-month-old niece. While in...

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