Ministers’ Attacks on Judges Threaten UK Democracy

London: Boris Johnson’s government has come under fire for its repeated and unwarranted attacks on judges, which could be undermining judicial independence and threatening UK democracy. A new report by a cross-party group of MPs accuses ministers of acting in a “constitutionally unhelpful and inappropriate” manner, which may have “created the impression that the Supreme Court has been influenced by ministerial pressure”.

These damning conclusions were reached following a three-month inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and the Constitution (APPGDC), which heard evidence from a range of witnesses, including former senior government lawyers, and considered hundreds of pages of Supreme Court judgments, academic commentary, and public statements by ministers. The Ministry of Justice failed to respond to an invitation to give evidence on behalf of the government. The inquiry also reviewed all of the Supreme Court’s public law decisions since 2020, finding that “the high number of instances in which the Supreme Court has reversed its previous position on the law, so as to adopt an approach that is more favourable to the executive, is notable”.

Sam Fowles, Open Democracy,

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