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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Phone Hacking: Lord Chief Justice attacks media and politicians

Phone Hacking: Lord Chief Justice attacks media and politicians

The Lord Chief Justice has launched a thinly veiled attacked on the media and politicians as he defended the actions of judges.

Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice. Photo: UPPA

By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor, 7:00AM BST 14 Jul 2011

Judges have been at the centre of rows over privacy rulings and human rights decisions in the last 12 months.

In April, David Cameron set himself on a collision course when he said it was time Parliament decided laws rather than the courts.

That followed concerns over controversial human rights rulings such as prisoner votes and claims judges were creating a privacy law by the back door in a series of decision on injunctions.

But Lord Judge, the country’s most senior judge, defended the judiciary from the attacks “sometimes by those who should know better and sometimes by those who choose to ignore what they know”.

He also signalled that the reason the country was currently “in the middle of a crisis” was because of the actions of the media and phone hacking.

And on the day that a judge was appointed to hold the resulting public inquiry he said that “after all the criticisms” and “public revulsion” is was to the judges the country now turned.

He told the judges annual dinner at Mansion House last night: “We do not act on or give judgment according to our personal whims and wishes.

“When we apply the laws as we find them to be we are independent judges.

“If ever we decided cases on the basis of what someone else wanted the law or the result to be, we would have forfeited the very principle of independence

for which judges in this country stand.

“Now, after all the criticisms, the country is in the middle of the crisis that has embroiled the press and the politicians and the police.

“Perhaps it is just worth noticing that there would not have been any crisis but for public revulsion at the breaches of the confidentiality involving the victims of crime and war.

“And now, notwithstanding the constant criticism of judges public revulsion has led to the public demand for a judge led inquiry.”

Comment: I don't think there is anything controversial in the ECtHR's rulings on prisoners votes. What is controversial is the responses of the media and politicians.

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