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What, even bedbugs?

Jonathan Barnes: Demiurge at Work, 5 June 2008

Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity 
by David Sedley.
California, 269 pp., £17.95, January 2008, 978 0 520 25364 3
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... he replied, ‘God has given us a natural alarm clock.’ The Stoics occupy the last section of David Sedley’s enthralling book. For Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity is not about the book of Genesis, nor about early Christian debates over God’s creative activities, nor yet about the dispute between the pagan Platonist Proclus and the ...

The Killing of Blair Peach

David Renton, 22 May 2014

... the possibility that a police truncheon had been responsible for Peach’s injury. Professor David Bowen (in Cass’s terminology, Person R), who carried out the original post-mortem, and Professor Keith Mant, who carried out a subsequent examination on behalf of the family, agreed on this. Mant noted that the blow had split Peach’s skull but not his ...

The Right to Die

Stephen Sedley, 27 August 2015

... debate and a vote that reflects public opinion may be disappointed. There are several reasons. David Cameron, who is known to be opposed to the measure, has declined to make parliamentary time – i.e. time allocated by the government whips – available for it. This means that Marris will have to run the gauntlet of the private member’s bill ...

The Goodwin and Giggs Show

Stephen Sedley: Super-Injunctions, 16 June 2011

... the one and legally to the other. It was in February that the current crisis was prefigured, when David Cameron in Parliament spoke damagingly about the Supreme Court’s decision that some sex offenders ought to be able in the course of time to ask to be removed from the register, calling it ‘completely offensive’ and contrary to common sense; an attack ...

Be careful what you wish for

Stephen Sedley: Human Rights Acts, 30 August 2018

The Conservative Human Rights Revolution: European Identity, Transnational Politics and the Origins of the European Convention 
by Marco Duranti.
Oxford, 502 pp., £59, February 2017, 978 0 19 981138 0
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... director of operations was Churchill’s son-in-law, Duncan Sandys. Its legal draftsman was Sir David Maxwell Fyfe QC, a right-wing libertarian with potent credentials as a principal prosecutor at Nuremberg. It was Maxwell Fyfe who told a Conservative Party rally in 1948 that just as Nazism had crept first gradually and then irresistibly into German ...


Stephen Sedley: Judges’ Lodgings, 11 November 1999

... tutor-organiser for Durham, to tell her if she’d ever be a writer, I asked her and her husband David to dinner when I was sitting in the North-East and exposed my dilettantish flank by letting slip that I was barely halfway through Regeneration. Even so we have remained friends. Coming to Devon in the winter of 1998 on my last-ever circuit, I wrote to ask ...

Short Cuts

Stephen Sedley: Anonymity, 19 January 2017

... and prison or torture. It is the reason the UN’s special rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye, has defended the right to communicate anonymously on the internet, and that Germany has actually legislated to protect the use of anonymity and pseudonymity on social media. Barendt advances two particular arguments against the protection of ...

Mischief Wrought

Stephen Sedley: The Compensation Culture Myth, 4 March 2021

Fake Law: The Truth about Justice in an Age of Lies 
by the Secret Barrister.
Picador, 400 pp., £20, September 2020, 978 1 5290 0994 1
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... We know these to be facts because newspapers and electronic media have exposed them fearlessly. David Cameron, when he was prime minister, was so concerned about the situation that he appointed the veteran Tory politician and entrepreneur Lord Young to report on the state of health and safety legislation and ‘the rise of the compensation culture over the ...

Sorry to decline your Brief

Stephen Sedley, 11 June 1992

Judge for yourself 
by James Pickles.
Smith Gryphon, 242 pp., £15.99, April 1992, 1 85685 019 6
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The Barrister’s World 
by John Morison and Philip Leith.
Open University, 256 pp., £35, December 1991, 0 335 09396 5
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by David Pannick.
Oxford, 305 pp., £15, April 1992, 0 19 811948 8
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... the practice of law. The system we have is predicated on advocacy – that is, on presentation. David Pannick excavates Plato, Cicero and Quintilian for quotations about the deceptive and illusory characteristics of the art. But, as he would agree, the image of the advocate as conjuror is far too simple. In a process which is not single-mindedly devoted to ...

A Boundary Where There Is None

Stephen Sedley: In Time of Meltdown, 12 September 2019

Trials of the State: Law and the Decline of Politics 
by Jonathan Sumption.
Profile, 128 pp., £9.99, August 2019, 978 1 78816 372 9
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... The other is that this formula was put into the convention by its Conservative drafters, David Maxwell Fyfe, Duncan Sandys and others associated with the European Movement. Its purpose was to prevent member states, particularly those with socialist and social democratic regimes (Britain among them), from invoking state necessity as an excuse for ...

Short Cuts

Stephen Sedley: The Supreme Court’s Judgment, 2 March 2017

... of which he is a member, is no longer the able and principled Dominic Grieve (who was dismissed by David Cameron to placate his Europhobe backbenchers) but an inexperienced barrister MP, Jeremy Wright. Whatever the reason, the government has chosen, at considerable public expense, to die in a legal ditch and has now ended up legislatively where it could have ...

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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... or in cabinet, Irvine, the current lord chancellor, had remained silent while the home secretary, David Blunkett, had openly attacked judges whose immigration decisions he resented.It was a few weeks after Steyn’s lecture that Bingham delivered his paper to the UCL Constitution Unit, ‘A New Supreme Court for the United Kingdom’, with no question mark to ...

Relentlessly Rational

Stephen Sedley: The Treason Trial, 22 September 2022

The Mandela Brief: Sydney Kentridge and the Trials of Apartheid 
by Thomas Grant.
John Murray, 335 pp., £25, July, 978 1 5293 7286 1
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... and it seemed inevitable that they would be tortured. The two defence counsel, George Bizos and David Soggot, brought in Kentridge and an urgent application, based on the evidence elicited from the prosecution witnesses, was made for injunctions forbidding the police to ill-treat them. The judge refused to treat the application as urgent, with the result ...

Judicial Politics

Stephen Sedley, 23 February 2012

... to save them from starving.’ But the story did not end there. When in 2002 the home secretary, David Blunkett, slipped into a bill a provision expressly empowering such action, the Human Rights Act required him to include a safety-net provision that the use of the power was not to result in inhuman or degrading treatment of the destitute. Mr Justice ...

Beware Kite-Flyers

Stephen Sedley: The British Constitution, 12 September 2013

The British Constitution: A Very Short Introduction 
by Martin Loughlin.
Oxford, 152 pp., £7.99, April 2013, 978 0 19 969769 4
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... created by the (pre-9/11) Terrorism Act, which recently made headlines with the detention of David Miranda at Heathrow, illustrates a long-term shift both in what is constitutionally permissible and in what is constitutionally acceptable. The former may be a matter for Parliament, but the latter is still a matter for the rest of us. Despite all ...

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