Law Chief Tells Judges: Keep out of Politics

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Byline: Quentin Letts Yesterday insParliament By Steve Doughty Social Affairs Correspondent

JUDGES should keep their noses out of politics, the Lord Chief Justice warned yesterday.

There was a danger of overlap between legal decisions made in the courts and the everyday running of bodies like local councils, Lord Judge said.

Democratic decision-making should remain the responsibility of politicians, he insisted.

Lord Judge said he had sympathy with the views of Jonathan Sumption QC, a new Supreme Court judge who has suggested judicial review is 'trespassing on the proper function of government and the legislature in a democracy'.

Mr Sumption, who will take up his post when he finishes representing Roman Abramovich in a [pounds sterling]3billion damages case, said judges had sometimes acted on their own opinions. He has also criticised the European Court of Human Rights for interfering in the details of life in Britain.

The Lord Chief Justice, the most senior judge in England and Wales, said: 'Judges have to be careful to remember we are enforcing the law. As to that, we have no choice - we enforce the law as we find it to be.

'We have to be careful to remember that we can't administer the responsibilities which others have. So local authorities have responsibilities, and so on and so forth.

'And there is occasionally a danger of an overlap between us deciding what the law is, and saying what it is, and making a judgment.

'And occasionally, I suppose it's inevitable, where what we are doing, and the orders we make, have an impact on the administration for which others are responsible. …