Skip Content

Judicial Independence: Who Cares?

British Academy Law Lecture, delivered by Professor Neil MacCormick QC FBA, on 24 October 2006.

In his lecture Professor MacCormick observed that:

'Recently we have witnessed a disturbing growth of parliamentary and governmental critique of judicial decisions in individual cases. But perhaps decisions concerning anti-terrorism laws have illegitimately prioritised judicial discretion over the ministerial responsibility for the public safety? Meanwhile, changes in the court structure and the governance of the court systems in Scotland as well as England and Wales have generated new proposals for statutory definitions of the independence of the judiciary, and a statutory framework for exercising it. Should this be considered as a fresh bulwark for civil liberty - or just a typical case of a constitutional principle achieving official definition only as a sign that it has become seriously problematic?'

Robin Jackson, the Academy's new Secretary and Chief Executive added: 'I was delighted that the Academy held such an important and thought provoking lecture which made an important contribution to the on-going public debate concerning liberty and coercion.'

About the speaker: Professor Sir Neil MacCormick QC FBA FRSE LLD, is Regius Professor of Public and the Law of Nature and Nations, University of Edinburgh, and Leverhulme Person Research Professor in Philosophy of Law.

More about the British Academy Law Lectures