Michael Mansfield promotes another of his commissions and tribunals, this time in relation to Lewisham Hospital.
It may or may not be a good idea to close the hospital, but it is unlikely that much light will be shed on the issue by Mansfield’s approach to inquiry. The last one I attended, employing the Bertrand Russell brand at which Mansfield also presided, was notable for operating as a tribunal with a panel whose predisposition to the outcome was evident before hearing the evidence, where their interventions through the process indicated their fixed opinions, where there was no evidence offered in defence, and no advocate for the defence was involved.
Alexei Navalny would have recognised the system.
Fortunately, so far the English legal system, from which Mansfield and his clients have benefited significantly, adopts the normal due process, with its checks and balances, to encourage a more just decision. Meanwhile perhaps a future ‘Comment’ could explore whether tribunals which offer little more than merely Soviet-style show trials should be given publicity in the Gazette.
Robin Ellison, consultant, Pinsent Masons, London