Joint Committee On Human Rights Minutes of Evidence

Memoranda by Rt Hon Lord Woolf of Barnes, Rt Hon Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers and Rt Hon Lord Bingham of Cornhill

Letter from the Senior Law Lord to the Chairman of the Committee

  I am not quite sure how much help I shall be able to give. The separation of powers as between the legislature and the judiciary is an important constitutional principle, neither being accountable to the other. I shall accordingly feel inhibited in answering any question which relates not just to individual cases but to past or likely future trends of judicial decision-making.

  On the four points you specifically raise:

    (1)    My views in favour of incorporation are a matter of public record. Experience so far has not led me to modify those views.

    (2)    I cannot comment on the judges' approach to application of section 3 of the 1988 Act.

    (3)    I cannot comment on the courts' approach to a ministerial statement of compatibility.

    (4)    Since the courts are now required to take into account the materials listed in section 2(1) of the 1998 Act, they are increasingly referred to these materials. This strengthens a trend evident over the last few years. I am not personally aware of any practical difficulties in applying the Act, and the courts in which I sit receive all the assistance they need.

The Right Honourable Lord Bingham of Cornhill

20 February 2001

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 18 April 2001