LETTER: Legal folly of trying the judge

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From Professor A. Bradley

Sir: For any politician to seek to blame the judges, directly or indirectly, for current weaknesses in Britain's social policies ("Regina versus the politicians", 2 November) is both a serious lapse in statesmanship as well as an inept failure to accept three essential features of the legal system today.

These are (1) the development of administrative law since the Sixties, which has equipped the judges with the means of reviewing the legality of innumerable acts of ministers, civil servants and local politicians; (2) the increased importance of human rights as a yardstick of governmental action, without which neighbourly relations between states, whether in Europe or the Commonwealth, are not possible; (3) the need, expressed in the Law Commissions Act of 1965, for our legal system to have a means of keeping the law up to date in areas of social life where the inspiration for reform comes neither from political manifestos nor economic interests.

If any political party does not understand the distinct contribution that each of these elements makes to the rule of law today, it will probably not see the folly of attempting to bring judges of the distinction of Sir Henry Brooke and Dame Brenda Hale into the arena of party conflict.

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Bradley

London, EC4

2 November