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Everything and Nothing

Stephen Sedley: Who will speak for the judges?, 7 October 2004

... In June last year, the lord chancellor, Lord Irvine, was dismissed in a cabinet reshuffle. It was announced, not to Parliament but by press release, that his office was not to be filled and that his department was to become part of the Department for Constitutional Affairs, headed by a newly appointed minister, Lord Falconer ...

Godmother of the Salmon

John Bayley, 9 July 1992

‘Rain-Charm for the Duchy’ and other Laureate Poems 
by Ted Hughes.
Faber, 64 pp., £12.99, June 1992, 0 571 16605 9
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... from Ireland, and it seemed a good idea to knock off a little ‘Horatian Ode’ to welcome the Lord Protector home. Larkin had his own wholly characteristic way of dealing with a royal occasion. In times when nothing stood but worsened, or grew strange, there was one constant good:         she did not ...

The Case of N.

Francis FitzGibbon: The strange world of asylum law, 21 July 2005

... come here for medical treatment, but as a refugee. She had been kidnapped and held captive by the Lord’s Resistance Army for two years, then by another rebel group, the National Resistance Movement. She had been severely mistreated and repeatedly raped. This woman, who is known as ‘N.’, applied for asylum on two independent grounds: first, under the ...

Bringing it home to Uncle Willie

Frank Kermode, 6 May 1982

Joseph Conrad: A Biography 
by Roger Tennant.
Sheldon Press, 276 pp., £12.50, January 1982, 0 85969 358 9
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Edward Garnett: A Life in Literature 
by George Jefferson.
Cape, 350 pp., £12.50, April 1982, 0 224 01488 9
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The Edwardian Novelists 
by John Batchelor.
Duckworth, 251 pp., £18, February 1982, 0 7156 1109 7
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The Uses of Obscurity: The Fiction of Early Modernism 
by Allon White.
Routledge, 190 pp., £12, August 1981, 0 7100 0751 5
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... off by Mr Tennant’s not saying anything very interesting about the fictions, of which he thinks Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness are the best. A lot of quite decent lives of famous people are not strictly necessary, though they are often the ones that get read. A good life of Edward Garnett, on the other hand, might, since his is a known but hardly a famous ...

A Misreading of the Law

Conor Gearty: Why didn’t Campbell sue?, 19 February 2004

Report of the Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly CMG 
by Lord Hutton.
Stationery Office, 740 pp., £70, January 2004, 0 10 292715 4
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... Blair’s intuitive political genius. It was extraordinary to have reaped from the appointment of Lord Hutton a set of findings which transformed a crisis that threatened to be overwhelming into a vindication of every aspect of the government’s conduct, and of the prime minister’s moral probity in particular. But when the full implications of the report ...

He huffs and he puffs

John Upton: David Blunkett, the Lifers and the Judges, 19 June 2003

... who had brought an application for judicial review of the terms of his sentence against the Home Office. Had Hindley lived, the Lords’ judgment in Anderson’s favour might also have led to her release from prison, where she was serving a mandatory life sentence. The Anderson ruling took away from the Home Secretary ...

Waspish Civilities

Stephen Sedley: The Case for a Supreme Court, 21 May 2020

High Principle, Low Politics and the Emergence of the Supreme Court 
by Frederic Reynold.
Wildy, Simmonds and Hill, 154 pp., £14.95, September 2019, 978 0 85490 283 5
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... peerage and handed to a committee composed of legally qualified life peers appointed by the lord chancellor. Then in 2009 the House of Lords was replaced by a Supreme Court, separately housed, financed and administered, its proceedings livestreamed, its judges appointed by a non-governmental commission. To lawyers it looked very much like the end of ...

Becoming homeless is easily done

David Renton, 7 May 2020

... going to lose loved ones before their time.’ ‘Emergency legislation is being drafted,’ the lord chief justice announced on 17 March, ‘which is likely to contain clauses that expand the powers in criminal courts to use technology in a wider range of hearings.’ The Bar Council argued that all jury trials should be stayed until after the ...

Big Men Falling a Long Way

Christopher Logue, 5 November 2015

... Troy. Tell its King: You are to bring your son’s corpse home. Its ransom – large. Appropriate. Go now. Alone, save for your driver. You will be treated with respect.’ *    Troy.    ‘King,’ Iris said, ‘You are to bring your son’s corpse home. Its ransom ...

Judicial Politics

Stephen Sedley, 23 February 2012

... Among the last, now more than half a century ago, were James Reid QC, a Scottish Tory MP who, as Lord Reid, became one of the best judges of the postwar years, and Cyril Radcliffe QC, a distinguished public servant and barrister. The legislation which in 2009 took final appeal in the UK out of the legislature and into its own space, and which populated it ...

Weathering the storm

Robert Blake, 18 October 1984

Lord Liverpool: The Life and Political Career of Robert Banks Jenkinson, Second Earl of Liverpool 1770-1828 
by Norman Gash.
Weidenfeld, 265 pp., £16.95, August 1984, 0 297 78453 6
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... later in December 1828. By then his successor, Canning, was also dead. Canning’s successor, Lord Goderich, had resigned without even meeting Parliament, and the Duke of Wellington was well into the first year of a premiership which led to the triumph of two causes anathema to Lord Liverpool – Catholic Emancipation ...
The Due Process of Law 
by Lord Denning.
Butterworth, 263 pp., £8.95, February 1980, 0 406 17607 8
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... This, the companion volume to The Discipline of Law, completes Lord Denning’s current legal testament – his witness, until his next book, to the cause of justice. He writes on difficult questions of law for the pleasure of ordinary folk: and he succeeds. Yet, for all his racy style (its brevity and bravura could serve as a model for journalists), and notwithstanding his sense of mischief and love of fun, he has produced a serious contribution to the legal study, critical in our time, of the role of the judge in the public life of a common law country ...

In Letchworth

Gillian Darley: Pevsner's Hertfordshire, 2 January 2020

... It belonged to the Lamb family, forebears of Queen Victoria’s first prime minister, Lord Melbourne and was bought in the 1920s by a Liverpool brewer, soon ennobled as Lord Brocket. Then it became a hotel and conference centre. The lake, a dammed section of the River Lea, attracts the attention of guests and ...

Swaying at the Stove

Rosemary Hill: The Cult of Elizabeth David, 9 December 1999

Elizabeth David: A Biography 
by Lisa Chaney.
Pan, 482 pp., £10, September 1999, 0 330 36762 5
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Waiting at the Kitchen Table. Elizabeth David: The Authorised Biography 
by Artemis Cooper.
Viking, 364 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 7181 4224 1
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... about evocation than ingredients and, however foreign the ostensible subject-matter, more about home than abroad. David was taken seriously in Britain in a way that no previous writer on food had been. She was credited with transforming the national diet and she gave cookery a place in high culture. Evelyn Waugh admired her writing and she was ...

When judges sleep

Stephen Sedley, 10 June 1993

In the Highest Degree Odious: Detention without Trial in Wartime Britain 
by A.W.B. Simpson.
Oxford, 453 pp., £35, December 1992, 0 19 825775 9
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... land in breach of bye-laws which, it turned out, had been illegally made. It also gave the new Lord Chief Justice an example, for his Dimbleby Lecture, of the law’s ability to play a straight bat. A book may be lurking there, as it must in many other corners of the legal attic. Brian Simpson himself embarked on such an enterprise some years ago with the ...

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