'Undermining the rule of law'

Cheryl Sanders
February 17, 2017

It would be "very unfortunate if we had political scrutiny of the appointment of judges in this country", Lord Neuberger said.

The new judges will replace Supreme Court President David Neuberger, 69, and Anthony Clarke, 73, who will both retire in the coming months, as well as Roger Toulson, 70, who left previous year.

Asked whether politicians responded quickly enough to defend the judiciary and rule of law, he said: "I think they could have been quicker and clearer".

In November, three High Court judges were criticised for ruling against the government in a case over Article 50, the process that triggers Britain's divorce from the European Union.

British justice secretary Liz Truss has praised the president of the United Kingdom supreme court, David Neuberger, after the judge appeared to criticise her for being slow to defend the judiciary from media attacks.

Miss Truss, who is also the Justice Secretary, said last night: 'I am delighted that Lord Neuberger is proactively talking about the role of the judiciary in public'.

I think with that power comes the degree of responsibility.

He added: "It's easy to be critical after the event. They were faced with an unexpected situation from which, like all sensible people, they learned", he told the BBC.

It led to a backlash from Leave campaigners, including pro-Brexit MPs, newspapers and social media, who accused the judges of "defying the referendum result".

"The rule of law together with democracy is one of the two pillars on which our society is based", he added.

Applications to replace three outgoing Supreme Court judges open Thursday.

"I wouldn't criticise them, save to the extent that undermining the judiciary for no good reason is no good for the rule of law".

Last year, the court ruled that Theresa May couldn't trigger Article 50 without Parliament's approval, a decision which was upheld by the Supreme Court last month.

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