The Supreme Court’s most senior judge has been urged to stand down from the hearing on Brexit, after it emerged his wife had posted a series of anti-Brexit tweets.This has raised major issues about conflicts of interest within the supposedly impartial judiciary.
Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury has obviously taken the position that his wife’s thoughts on the subject of Brexit have nothing to do with what his legal judgement might or might not be.
However, the Supreme Court’s own code of conduct warns that political activity of a close relative could raise concerns over impartiality.
The 3 judges in the High Court (‘Gina Miller’) case were all supporters of the EU and one had been a co-founder of a pro-EU legal integration group. Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd – the UK’s Lord Chief Justice – was a founding member of the European Law Institute, which says it works towards the “enhancement of European legal integration“.
Baron Thomas, who is the country’s most senior judge, sparked a constitutional crisis when he, alongside Sir Terence Etherton and Lord Justice Sales, ruled in the High Court the Government cannot trigger Article 50 using royal prerogative. This is despite every single act taking us into and deeper into the EU was done on royal prerogative.
The principle in British justice is furthermore not just that justice is done, it is that it is seen to be done.
In this case, the apparent euro-partisan stance of the judiciary does not fulfil that principle. The question of ‘who appoints these judges?’ also needs to be answered.
Judges in cases like this MUST be vetted for any links with Europhile or Europhobe groups or relatives, and any statements they have made in public or on social media. Brexit is an emotive issue and it could be difficult to find judges who appear (through their lack of affiliations and public statements) to be utterly impartial.
That doesn’t mean we – and the supposedly impartial judiciary – shouldn’t attempt it.
The full article link is given below from the Telegraph.