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Judge rule: is the law taking over politics?


Judge Rule thumb

Nowadays, the courts are increasingly involved in a plethora of moral, political and social arenas that in the past were beyond judicial intervention. Courts have recently decided cases about welfare reforms, hospital closures, the HS2 railway line, assisted suicide, genetics, compensation for Kenyan Mau Mau victims, and whether an hotelier can refuse a hotel bed to a gay couple. Should we welcome judges’ wisdom in arbitrating over greater areas of life and difficult subjects, or should we be wary of the politicisation of the law and ‘judicial activism’? Does the law have limits? If so, where should these limits be drawn and by whom? Filmed at the Battle of Ideas, these and many more questions are expertly discussed in this charged debate by an impressive line-up of speakers.

Battle of Ideas session details

Related topics: Debates

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Eaman said:

I thought this video raised very good points and debate about the political sphere. I agreed with Anthony’s point toward the end that their doesn’t seem to be an overall or real vision of the future. It seems that attention is focused at specific conflicts or issues, when “judicial activism” should become more active and all encompassing. However this video was key in talking about these issues, for it is crucial these matters are debated and talked about.

Gavin Phillipson said:

Valerie and others in the anti-law camp fail to place the UK in international context: within our constituion, judges have only a very modest degree of power and can always be overruled by Parliament. Presumably you must think the rest of the democratic world, with much stronger judicial power., are all crazy. But how on earth can the British system show ‘complete distrust of the populace’? Absurd. Moreover, human rights are there to protect the populace against politicians.

Ceri Dingle said:

I’m glad this is raising discussion and we’d be delighted for it to be used by schools, colleges and universities. There is a very interesting article by Jon Holbrook the Barrister on human rights here if you are interested.

Valerie Meeson said:

Completely disagree with Josh below, it is stark staringly obvious that the obsession with the law is anti-democratic and exemplifies complete distrust of the populace-which is exactly what Emily Thornberry is about. I don’t think she should have resigned either but only because her whole party thinks that anyway.

Josh said:

I don’t think we should be so hard on Ms Thornberry and I don’t think she should have been pushed to resign for saying what a lot of people think who hate UKIP and nationalism. I also think the European Court of human rights has been a life-saver.

Katie Fiscott said:

First time I’ve watched these debates on your vlog and they are good, very good in fact and should form a good educational resource. I think this one is a must for students and will put the word out. It also reveals a lot about where Emily Thornberry was coming from when she put her foot in things.

linton Q said:

Really enjoyed this too very enlightening-difficult not to look to the law these days as politicians are so managerial and inept but I suppose looking to the law does only make things worse as Mr holbrook explains. Still not clear how things got to this point mind you.

Esther P said:

Jon Holbrook so rocks in this- I wish I had as clear a brain as that-worth listening to twice just to take in his explanations! thank you worldbytes videographers -great job. I will share and pass this around my law friends.

Sarah K said:

Excellent panel! Emily Thornberry’s contempt and that of her whole party and the political elite in fact is very obvious to me here long before she made her white van boo boo tweet.