We are pleased to welcome this brief comment from Fergal Davis of the University of New South Wales Gilbert + Tobin Centre for Public Law on the appointment of Lord Neuberger as President of the UK Supreme Court.
“I will do my best to ensure that [the supreme court] continues to play its proper role in upholding the rule of law, and applying and developing the law in a coherent and principled and practical way, appropriate for today’s world.” ~ Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
The second president of the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court will be sworn in on 1 October 2012. Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury is often seen as a “liberal” and produced a report which cautioned against the proliferation of so-called “super injunctions” due to their potential impact on freedom of expression. In reality Neuberger is a Diceyean sort of fellow. I have previously analyzed his Lord Alexander of Weedon Lecture, delivered on the 6 April 2011. In effect Neuberger advocates dialogue; but he does so in a very mild mannered fashion. He proposes that politicians ought to acknowledge the inherent weaknesses of parliament and recognize the role of the judiciary; but ultimately calls of the judges to be mindful of parliamentary supremacy. He may be liberal but he is no judicial activist. In many respects I think it fair to say that Neuberger regrets the constitutional reforms prefaced by the New Labour government. After all, he opposed the creation of the Supreme Court, which he now leads; he advocates judicial deference and a narrow reading of Jackson; I think he would have liked things to remain as they were in the mid-1990’s. As a proponent of institutional dialogue and a fan of Blur who am I to argue?