Bar Council: Judiciary must ensure rule of law underpins our democracy

4 November 2016

Chairman of the Bar Council, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, has today highlighted the vital role of the judiciary in upholding the rule of law.

She said: "As the judges made very clear in the judgment, this case was not about the merits of leaving the EU. It was about the constitutional processes for triggering Article 50. It is the judiciary's role to ensure the rule of law underpins our democratic system. Without it fulfilling this vital role, the people would have very limited scope to hold the Government in power to account.

"The judiciary of England & Wales is the envy of the world because it is independent of Government or any other influence. When we speak to lawyers in other jurisdictions, it is our judiciary that they particularly praise for its professionalism and independence.

"Publicly criticising individual members of the judiciary over a particular judgement or suggesting that they are motivated by their individual views, political or otherwise, is wrong, and serves only to undermine their vital role in the administration of justice. It also does no favours to our global reputation.

"None of the parties suggested that the Court did not have jurisdiction to decide the point at issue. They are simply doing their job - impartially ruling on a dispute between parties, one of whom happens to be the Government in this instance. The right to appeal is there to challenge the Court's decision if a party feels they have grounds to do so. Whilst acknowledging that this question is one of potentially significant constitutional importance, the independent role of the Court should be respected, particularly by those who disagree with the outcome."