From House of Lords to Supreme Court

Lord Norton

47573Shortly before the final sitting of the law lords, one of their number – Lord Mance – gave an interview on the move from the Palace of Westminster to the new Supreme Court the other side of Parliament square.  You can link to the interview here.  In the course of it, he provides an answer to one query raised in response to an earlier post of mine – what will be happening over the summer? – as well as commenting on the contribution of  the law lords to the work of the House, not least its committee work.  Lord Mance is the last law lord to chair sub-committee E of the European Union Committee.

6 comments for “From House of Lords to Supreme Court

  1. Senex
    04/08/2009 at 8:01 pm

    Lord Mance used the word ‘outreach’. What should we read into this? This blog represents ‘outreach’ perhaps we will see a judiciary blog where they can involve people too? Lets hope it is never ever called Judge Dredd!

  2. Kyle Mulholland
    05/08/2009 at 11:57 am

    So, is it true that the final legacy of the Law Lords was to condemn a severely disabled man to spend 60 years in an American dungeon via a most ridiculous treaty agreement?

    • Senex
      12/08/2009 at 9:18 pm

      Kyle Mulholland: You have a point.

      The Pentagon is pissed that a foreign civilian could crack expensive military grade computer systems at a time of national emergency and Mr McKinnon is pissed because he thought these systems were an inviting open door and that the long arm of the American military would not reach out to grab him.

      The issue of the extended arm is central because the military asked the US courts in a number of states to issue arrest warrants compliant with the 4th amendment in terms of search and seizure on probable cause. However, the legality of this may be subjective.

      Presumably the Pentagon wants the trial to take place on US soil to test interpretation of the 4th amendment and other laws in that McKinnon’s ‘long arms’ caused criminal damage in the US when his forearms rested on a desktop in the UK. This is central to their ongoing efforts to counter what they regard as cyber terrorism.

      In the UK Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr Justice Wilkie released a 41-page ruling, which concluded that extradition was “a lawful and proportionate response to his offending”. I’m fairly sure the Justice’s did not take into account their own interpretation of the US 4th amendment because they concerned themselves entirely with interpreting British law.

      A successful application was made to a magistrate’s court for the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit to perform a search and seizure when no British notified crime had been committed on British soil but there had been notification of a US crime.

      If neither the Justices nor the Magistrate were presented with evidence then what has happened here is what caused the US to create the 4th amendment in the first place. As for the UK, George III and Lord North it would seem are alive and kicking.

      Simple really, two armies at war with each other.

      Ref: 4th Amendment; Search and Seizure; History and Scope

  3. lordnorton
    05/08/2009 at 5:53 pm

    Senex: The judiciary is far more sensitive these days to ensuring that the voice of judges is heard. Hence, the Lord Chief Justice publishes an annual report and normally appears each year before the Constitution Committee of the Lords. There is also now a spokesperson for the judges who can act to try and correct misinterpretations in the media of the work of judges. However, whether we shall see a Law Lords of the Blog, or rather now Justices of the Blog, remains to be seen.

    Kyle Mulholland: The law lords are not responsible for the extradition treaty. They can only apply the law as it stands. Treaty ratification is a prerogative power. The Government thus constitutes the body responsible, not the courts.

  4. Kyle Mulholland
    05/08/2009 at 10:52 pm

    Thanks for the reply, just one further (silly, perhaps) question:

    Did the agreement to such a treaty have to go through both houses? Or was it just signed off by the Secretary of State of the day? I’ve more faith in the Lords than to believe they would let this sort of rubbish pass through.

  5. lordnorton
    07/08/2009 at 4:23 pm

    Kyle Mulholland: At present, because treaty ratification is a prerogative power, the approval of Parliament is not required. The exception is in respect of treaties that extend the powers of the European Parliament. However, under Part 2 of the Govermment’s Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill, just introduced, Parliament will acquire the power to ratify treaties.

Comments are closed.