Examination of Witnesses (Questions 300
WEDNESDAY 21 FEBRUARY 2007
RT HON SIR IGOR JUDGE, MR MIKE WICKSTEED AND MR PETER
But what about the people sitting at the next table?
Sir Igor Judge: There is a difference, is there
not? There is the legitimate interest of legal correspondents
in the way things are going, and we have a part to play in thatthere
was one newspaper which had four articles or references to comments
by four of my colleagues. My own view about thatand it
is personalis that that is wrong and I feel very strongly
that that is wrong. I do feel very, very much that we have to
bear in mindI keep saying itthat you legislate and
we then apply the law that you provide us with.
When you say it is your personal view, would that be the view
of the Judicial Communications Office?
Mr Wicksteed: Absolutely, yes.
Q302 Lord Lyell of Markyate:
We are all on a learning curve here. Suddenly judges have got
the Judicial Communications Office to a degree which they have
not had in the past; ministers, particularly the Lord Chancelloralthough
no longer technically head of the judiciarystill have a
role to defend the judiciary and their independence in Parliament,
and I think we are making progress in seeing it working properly,
but there is a bit further to go. Would you agree?
Sir Igor Judge: There is always progress to
be madealwaysand, yes, this is very new. I meant
what I said earlier: to me a year is a very short time indeed
for very major constitutional changes to bed down and, if I may
say so, I would regard it as rather reckless to draw final conclusions
on the basis of one year. We should look at it now and see where
steering should come, see whether we are apparently going down
an inappropriate route, and then stand back and look at it again
a year on. Forming a final view about this until four or five
years have passed might very well be mistaken and, again, one
needs to remember that in the political world there will be a
General Election before the next five years are up. There mayI
am not advocating this of coursethere may be a change of
Government and that may affect the way in which the new arrangements
work. I agree with you that there is some way to gowe might
think there is a long way to goand we certainly have not
reached the stage where I could confidently say to you I think
everything is absolutely perfect; of course it is not and it never
Thank you very much indeed; it has been extremely interesting
to have you and your colleagues here. I realise it is not easy;
we are taking a small and tender plant while it is still putting
down roots, heaving it up and trying to look at how it is growing.
Our hope of course is that Parliament can be part of the solution
here rather than part of the problem, so it is good to see you
here. Thank you very much for your evidence.
Mr Wicksteed: Thank you for the opportunity.