Law chiefs have highlighted the important role of judicial review in upholding the rule of law as they prepare to work with the new attorney general, who has recently criticised ‘unelected, unaccountable’ judges.
Suella Braverman, a barrister and former Brexit minister, was appointed to replace Geoffrey Cox as attorney general in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet reshuffle on Thursday.
A fortnight before her appointment, she wrote a piece for the Conservative Home website in which she declared that politicians must 'take back control' from judges, who are acting like political decision-makers.
The Conservative Party has already pledged to ensure judicial review is not ‘abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays’. Boris Johnson has also hinted at a US-style vettings process for judges.
Law Society president Simon Davis said: ‘The role of the judges is to give effect to the will of parliament and the role of judicial review is to support parliament not to undermine it. The Article 50 and prorogation Supreme Court judgments were good examples of judicial support for parliamentary democracy.
‘An independent judiciary is fundamental to the rule of law and underpins the UK’s reputation for fairness and impartiality. I look forward to working with the lord chancellor and attorney-general with these principles front and foremost.’
The Criminal Bar Association said it was not a political organisation, nor opined on political matters, so it looked forward to working with Braverman.
Caroline Goodwin QC, CBA chair, said: ‘The judicial review process plays a foundational role in upholding the rule of law, that principle which underpins our civil and criminal justice system, lending cohesion to the economy and society at large. A government that stands up for the rule of law acts in the best interests of the people - parliament included.’
Amanda Pinto QC, chair of the Bar Council, said she looked forward to working with Braverman ‘on ensuring access to justice and protecting the rule of law’.