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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? Questions of this kind were rarely raised a generation ago; now they are commonplace ...

Short Cuts

Stephen Sedley: Equality Legislation, 7 February 2019

... surrogate for gender. Subsequent court decisions have had to follow suit. While the pioneering QC Anthony Lester, provided for Mr James by the Equal Opportunities Commission, has always insisted that the finding of direct discrimination was the right one in principle, critics point out that it was only if the undoubted discrimination was recognised as ...

Free speech for Rupert Murdoch

Stephen Sedley, 19 December 1991

... as the splendour, of the emperor’s new clothes. For the handful of liberals – Lord Scarman, Anthony Lester, Michael Zander – who have been arguing for decades that we need to have our rights and the government’s powers written down and invigilated by independent judges, the Nineties are looking like the moment of truth. That they were right ...

Pow-Wow

Mary Beard, 26 October 1989

After Thatcher 
by Paul Hirst.
Collins, 254 pp., £7.99, September 1989, 0 00 215169 3
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Out of Apathy: Voices of the New Left Thirty Years On 
Verso, 172 pp., £22.95, August 1989, 0 86091 232 9Show More
Essays on Politics and Literature 
by Bernard Crick.
Edinburgh, 259 pp., £25, August 1989, 0 85224 621 8
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... Bill of Rights has not had a big place on the agenda of the Left. To be fair, Lord Scarman and Anthony Lester (also founder signatories of Charter 88) have long argued that such a Bill was a necessary step in the protection of civil liberties. But the recent history of the campaign for a Bill of Rights lies more, if anything, with Lord Hailsham and ...

Terms of Art

Conor Gearty: Human Rights Law, 11 March 2010

The Law of Human Rights 
by Richard Clayton and Hugh Tomlinson.
Oxford, 2443 pp., £295, March 2009, 978 0 19 926357 8
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Human Rights Law and Practice 
edited by Anthony Lester, David Pannick and Javan Herberg.
Lexis Nexis, 974 pp., £237, April 2009, 978 1 4057 3686 2
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Human Rights: Judicial Protection in the United Kingdom 
by Jack Beatson, Stephen Grosz, Tom Hickman, Rabinder Singh and Stephanie Palmer.
Sweet and Maxwell, 905 pp., £124, September 2008, 978 0 421 90250 3
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... and political character, has generated the 2090 pages of Clayton and Tomlinson, the 889 pages of Lester, Pannick and Herberg and the 813 pages of Beatson, Grosz, Hickman, Singh and Palmer. These books are all squarely aimed at barristers seeking to express the interests of their clients in terms of human rights in order to achieve a victory that might ...

What are judges for?

Conor Gearty, 25 January 2001

... for property rights and for the need to ensure the enforceability of contracts. No one could read Anthony Lester and Geoffrey Bindman’s pathbreaking work on Race and Law (1972) – the early chapters of which cover the hostility of the common law to race discrimination law – and come to any other conclusion. Not only do we lawyers often simply not ...

Defeated Armies

Scott Sherman: Castro in the New York Times, 5 July 2007

The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L. Matthews of the ‘New York Times’ 
by Anthony DePalma.
PublicAffairs, 308 pp., £15.99, September 2006, 1 58648 332 3
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... a ghost in his own country, but an iconic figure in Cuba. In The Man Who Invented Fidel, Anthony DePalma notes that Castro, in the 1960s, had offered to grant him Cuban citizenship: ‘What a splendid Cuban Herbert Matthews would make,’ a Cuban publication proclaimed, ‘so upright and so just!’ On his last trip to Cuba, in 1972, Matthews, gaunt ...

Don’t Look Down

Nicholas Spice: Dull Britannia, 8 April 2010

Family Britain 1951-57 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 776 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 0 7475 8385 1
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... social scale: ‘It was no fun, it was just nasty, dirty and degrading’ was the verdict of Renee Lester, a Scunthorpe mother of six; while, in a survey of attitudes to religion, a divorced working-class woman from Oldham described heaven as ‘similar to life here but no sex’. Kynaston’s carefully researched account of social attitudes in the 1940s and ...

Female Bandits? What next!

Wendy Doniger: The incarnations of Robin Hood, 22 July 2004

Robin Hood: A Mythic Biography 
by Stephen Knight.
Cornell, 247 pp., £14.50, May 2003, 0 8014 3885 3
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... were, And lived lesse in awe; Now, God be thanked! People feare More to ofend the law. Anthony Munday, in his play The Downfall of Robert, Earle of Huntington (1598), redated the hero to the end of the 12th century, which had ‘the remarkable effect of reversing his political tendency’. Munday makes Robin’s enemies ‘only the corrupt and the ...

So Ordinary, So Glamorous

Thomas Jones: Eternal Bowie, 5 April 2012

Starman: David Bowie, the Definitive Biography 
by Paul Trynka.
Sphere, 440 pp., £9.99, March 2012, 978 0 7515 4293 6
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The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s 
by Peter Doggett.
Bodley Head, 424 pp., £20, September 2011, 978 1 84792 144 4
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... Dory consists of pastiches of Bowie’s musical heroes of the 1960s – John Lennon, Syd Barrett, Anthony Newley, Bob Dylan, the Velvet Underground. Which would make Ziggy Stardust the beautiful butterfly that emerged from the chrysalis. Paul Trynka begins his biography with a description of Bowie’s performance of ‘Starman’ on Top of the Pops on ...

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