Liz Truss breaks silence on judiciary but fails to mention Brexit ruling backlash

Her two paragraph response was criticised for being 'too little too late' 

Will Worley
Saturday 05 November 2016 15:37 GMT
Justice Secretary Liz Truss
Justice Secretary Liz Truss (Ben Birchall/PA Wire)

Lord Chancellor Liz Truss has broken her silence around the treatment of three High Court judges who were lambasted for ruling that Parliament must debate the invocation of Article 50.

MPs from across the party divide had strongly criticised the attacks on the judges following their decision, saying they went against the principle of the rule of law.

However, Ms Truss made no comment for over 24 hours on the issue.

But on Saturday, she said: "The independence of the judiciary is the foundation upon which our rule of law is built and our judiciary is rightly respected the world over for its independence and impartiality.

"In relation to the case heard in the High Court, the Government has made it clear it will appeal to the Supreme Court. Legal process must be followed."

However, Ms Truss was criticsed for her slow response and for not defending the judges.

"No mention or condemnation of the attacks on the judges," said Twitter user PJM QC. "Hardly adequate in my opinion...It is, in short, the statement of a politician, and not of a LC [Lord Chancellor] who took an oath to uphold and protect the independence of the judiciary."

This view was echoed among numerous laywers on social media.

In the political sphere, too, the statement recieved flack.

Shadow Justice Minister Richard Burgon said: "Pressure from the legal profession, professional bodies, politicians and the public has paid off in that Lord Chancellor Liz Truss has finally made at least some progress on this issue.

"But let's be clear - all Liz Truss has done is recite the well-known principle of the independence of the judiciary.

"Liz Truss has still failed to condemn these attacks on the British judiciary as being 'Enemies of the People' and talk in the press of the sexuality of a judge.

"I'm afraid that it's far too little, far too late from Liz Truss. The last few days mean that much of the legal community now has no confidence in the Lord Chancellor to fulfil her statutory duty to protect the independence of the British judiciary."

Green Party councillor Douglas Johnson said: "Lord Chancellor Liz Truss has finally spoken. And NOT condemned the Daily Mail for [it's] attack on Judges."

As Lord Chancellor, Ms Truss is in charge of oversight of the courts and holds responsibility for their independence and performance.

Earlier on Saturday, the Bar Council had criticised her silence after the High Court judges were at the receiving end of personal attacks from some parts of the media and pro-Leave public figures.

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