Tag Archives: supreme court

Antony Hook: The Supreme Court ruling has opened the floodgates of major constitutional reform

Britain has always been a bastion or the rule of law, internationally respected as an exemplar of fairness, decency and parliamentary democracy.

Restoring a supposed supremacy of the British institutions was central to Boris Johnson’s campaign to wrench us out of Europe. The irony has been lost on few people that he has since tried to suppress Parliament and it has fallen to the courts to intervene.

I know something about Britain’s courts. Before being elected as an MEP, I had 16 years’ service as a barrister. In almost every case I have been involved in, the liberty of an individual has …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 53 Comments

Ashers Bakery Verdict is Dodgy and Dangerous

The verdict of the Supreme Court in favour of Ashers bakery’s refusal to make a cake supporting same-sex marriage is dodgy and dangerous.

It is undoubtedly a complicated case. It makes sense, on the surface, because we all have freedom of speech and freedom of thought; yet it also makes sense that if you are running a business that is serving the public then you have to serve all the public, taking them as they are, whether you agree with their opinions or not.

The judgment was reached because the Supreme Court decided that it was the message, not the person that the Christian proprietors objected to. But how was this fact proved?

I don’t think it can be proved because prejudice is often hidden.

It seems to me that the judges have simply taken at face value what the owners of the bakery have said. How can it be proved that they weren’t using their beliefs as a pretext to conceal a hatred they have for gay people?

This question is important because it is at the core of homophobia and hatred against the LGBT+ community: this prejudice is legitimised and normalised because it is spun as an opinion, it’s just someone’s point of view – especially when it’s religious beliefs that are being weaponised.

It’s a slippery slope indeed.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 54 Comments

Impressive free public access to our Supreme Court

The main courtroom at the Supreme Court, from the perspective of the Presiding Judge.
This week I wanted to visit a court in London, to get a feel for the proceedings. I didn’t fancy the Old Bailey – its case list is a series of stabbings basically. Not nice. I was about to make the journey to the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand when I remembered the more recently opened Supreme Court.

The United Kingdom Supreme Court resides just opposite Parliament in an impressive building previously occupied by Middlesex County Council and the Middlesex Courts.

When I visited, there were only a few people milling around inside. The staff were very friendly and helpful. I was whisked through the security scanner and then the receptionist explained what I could do in the building. The public are able to wonder around the three court rooms (when there are no cases ongoing) and take photographs. Then there is an interesting exhibition area about the history of the building, the Supreme Court, the Magna Carta and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. That latter entity is the final court of judgment for a number of territories overseas.

Posted in London and Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Article 50 in the Supreme Court: what we should do next?

It is just over a week since the Supreme Court Article 50 hearings finished and all the excitement that went with it. For those of you who were fighting a by-election, the case was not a rerun of the High Court hearings as interventions were heard from all parts of the United Kingdom. The decision could have fundamental ramifications on the relationship between Westminster and the devolved administrations on top of the decision on Article 50 and the extent of the Royal Prerogative.

No one can realistically predict the result and I, as a non-lawyer, will not even try. But we must decide how we should respond to it. I list some of the possible outcomes below. How we challenge the government will vary dramatically in each case and needs careful thinking through now before the Supreme Court announces its decision before the government moves quickly to meet its March 2017 deadline if we are to respond quickly.

  1. The UK Government wins and no legislation is needed to trigger Article 50, i.e. a reversal of the High Court decision.
  2. A very short bill to trigger Article 50 has to go through parliament, drafted so as to reduce the chances of amendment (and probably already prepared).
  3. Substantive legislation is required to trigger Article 50 modifying existing legislation – this could more easily be amended to bind the government’s negotiating mandate.
  4. On top of either 2 or 3, the government is also required to consult the devolved assemblies (the Sewel Convention) to agree legislative consequences on the devolved administrations. How should we respond if no agreement is forthcoming?
Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

PJS/YMA – Ultimately a sensible judgment by the Supreme Court

It is rather disconcerting that, sitting down to write this post, I have to think quite hard about what I can and can’t say. It does seem that free speech is rather trammeled when people can’t talk directly about this case. Those who have bothered to spend a little time googling (try Australian, US and Canadian outlets or a well-known political blog), will know what I am talking about. Those who haven’t, won’t. It’s all a bit strange.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 20 Comments

Hughes welcome Supreme Court ruling securing freedom from persecution for gay asylum seekers

Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes has welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling that two gay men who said they faced persecution in their home countries of Cameron and Iran have the right to asylum in the UK.

I am delighted this ruling recognises the rights of gay asylum seekers, ensuring their freedom from persecution around the world.

“This plight is one that my Liberal Democrat colleagues and I have campaigned on for years. It is an issue that the Coalition Government is committed to addressing as we seek to restore Britain’s reputation around the world as a leader in the

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 5 Comments
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