If you love Democracy, take care..

There is one simple point which makes the attacks on the serving Judiciary absurd. The Court was dealing with a pure question of Law. Of course, it has political repercussions and, depending on your view, may frustrate the speed of the implementation and even nature of Brexit. But that is no reason to attack a legal interpretation. Ift may be quite wrong. If so, it will be overturned on appeal. That is how the system works.

I have read the transcript of proceedings. Insofar as it matters – and really it does not – I felt that the Attorney General made a perfectly reasonable and clear case in favour of HMG. I was also impressed by some of the subsidiary arguments concerning non Residents. No matter. The Court ruling was decisive and for the moment that is the law, like it or not. No one has to resign or be ashamed or retreat into their shell. The Judges have acted according to their judicial oaths and no more.

All that one would have thought was completely uncontroversial. The Judges have spoken and there is absolutely no reason why their reasons cannot be analysed and challenged by lawyers and others, indeed by anyone. Provided only that we accept that they were just doing their job according to their consciences.

Sadly the appalling reaction from some of the media and very particularly the Daily Mail, threatens Democracy itself. It is dangerous nonsense to describe serving Judges as enemies of the people. That way lies anarchy and they should hang their heads in shame. The Law Officers should condemn it and so should the Bar Council and every other responsible legal institution. It is absolutely contemptible and I fear for reasoned public debate if it is not opposed in the strongest terms.

Just one note of hope. There are highly intelligent and reasonable Brexiteers out there who do see the point and want no part of this mass hysteria. I want to hear more from them. They have the power to calm these troubled waters. They will earn respect by speaking out unequivocally.

Nigel Pascoe QC