In August the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, the appropriately named Sir Igor Judge (pictured left), gave a speech to the 2010 Bench & Bar Conference in Colorado. When British judges speak in the United States, it is almost obligatory that they flag up the shared constitutional history of both nations. What makes Sir Igor Judge’s speech different is that, having dispensed with a lengthy discussion of the role of Middle Temple Barristers in the founding of the United States, he develops an interesting thesis regarding the constitutional role of the judiciary in both countries. Continue reading “Weekend Reading: Sir Igor Judge on the Role of the Courts”
This weekend I will be revisiting a book released this year by Keith Ewing and entitled Bonfire of the Liberties: New Labour, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (2010, OUP) in conjunction with Helen Fenwick‘s review of the book in the new issue of the Journal of Law & Society. The blurb for Bonfire of the Liberties reads:
This provocative book confronts the corrosion of civil liberties under successive New Labour governments since 1997. It argues that the last decade has seen a wholesale failure of constitutional principle and exposed the futility of depending on legal rights to restrict the power of executive government. It considers the steps necessary to prevent the continued decline of political standards, arguing that only through rebalancing political power can civil liberties be adequately protected Continue reading “Weekend Reading: Bonfires, Liberties and Reviews”
This weekend, whilst finishing up some of my own work on the issue of prisoner enfranchisement, I’ll be taking a look over Michael Plaxton and Heather Lardy’s latest article on judicial approaches to the issue of bans on prisoners voting across Europe, Canada, South Africa and Australia (brought to my attention by Aidan O’Neill QC, one of the regular contributors to the UKSC Blog). Dr Heather Lardy is one of the leading UK-based experts on electoral law, and over the last decade has focused several articles on the controversial cases surrounding the disenfranchisement of inmates in the United Kingdom’s prisons (pictured left). Dr Michael Plaxton, now at the University of Saskatchewan, has also written across a range of Public Law subjects.
The issue that they devote their article to could not be more topical in the United Kingdom. After the UK was found to have breached the rights of prisoners by denying them the vote irrespective of the crime or the duration of their sentence by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Hirst v UK in 2005, Continue reading “Weekend Reading: Michael Plaxton and Heather Lardy "Prisoner Disenfranchisement: Four Judicial Approaches"”
Earlier this week I noticed that Prof. Michael Perry of Emory University-whose interest has long been in religion, law and rights and particularly in how and why we protect certain rights-has released a paper that people new to his work will find an exciting introduction to it. This is not to suggest that people already familiar with Perry’s work won’t find the paper interesting and worthwhile; it is as exciting and challenging for the seasoned reader of his work as it is welcoming to the new-comer. In this paper, entitled ‘Rights, Constitutions, Courts’, which can be downloaded freely from SSRN here, Perry considers an almost mind-boggling range of questions which he describes thus by means of abstract:
1. Why entrench certain rights – certain rights of the sort we today call human rights – in a constitution, rather than solely in legislation? Continue reading “Weekend Reading: Perry on Rights, Constitutions and Courts”
In my back-pack this weekend is a copy of Stephen Gardbaum‘s new article “Reassessing the new commonwealth model of constitutionalism”, just published in the International Journal of Constitutional Law (and available here on SSRN). Professor Gardbaum (pictured left) is the MacArthur Foundation Professor of International Justice and Human Rights at UCLA and has been a prominent figure in debates on “constitutionalisation” in international law and domestic legal systems.
“Constitutionalisation” describes a process by which the independence of political actors is constrained by legal rules. Costas Douzinas describes it as “the – incomplete – legalisation of politics Continue reading “Weekend Reading: Stephen Gardbaum on the "Commonwealth" model of Human Rights Protection”