Trust the Judges?

“Trust the Judges” is said when governments enact a law which has the effect of limiting, often potentially unreasonably, the freedom and liberty of the individual; we can, the theory goes, trust the fierce independence of the judiciary to protect freedom and liberty which we, the governed, cherish. “Trust the judges” is trotted out when governments enact laws which limit our freedom. Unfortunately it seems to me that the judges can no longer be trusted. Continue reading

Follow the Money

Scandals about the conditions in which people who work in third world countries are frequent. The latest scandal claims Apple exhausts the workers who make its products in China and uses (indirectly) child labour to work in dangerous mines in Indonesia. When the BBC made a programme about these thing Apple circulated its UK staff with words which included  Continue reading

The Right to Bear Arms

Once again we have woken to news that there has been another slaying of people in the United States, this time in Washington DC when when people were killed for no apparent reason, by a man with a gun. Despite the regularity of this kind of event the United States finds it impossible to enact laws which prevent the widespread availability of arms. Its Constitution protects the “right” of its people to bear and keep arms, and this “right” is doubly protected by a powerful group that lobbies to enable arms to be freely available to American people.  Continue reading

You Do Not Have to Say Anything

“You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you say may be given in evidence.”

When you hear these words spoken to you, it means that you are being arrested by the police. The moment of arrest is a traumatic moment, and although fair warning is given, I doubt if anyone arrested has time or inclination or the presence of mind to balance whether he or she should say anything as the handcuffs are being clapped on and as the full force of the legal process starts to bring itself to bear against the accused. Continue reading

On Oaths

People sometimes swear solemn oaths; jurors swear an oath to faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence. In Nazi Germany people swore the Wehrmacht Oath of Loyalty to Adolf Hitler. It was an oath of blind obedience. “I swear by God this sacred oath that to the Leader of the German empire and people, Adolf Hitler, supreme commander of the armed forces, I shall render unconditional obedience and that as a brave soldier I shall at all times be prepared to give my life for this oath.” Hitler was the master of the German people, not the servant of the people. In the United States of America people swear the oath of allegiance to the United States when they become citizens or join the armed forces. This is not an oath of blind obedience but requires some thought, although it has often been interpreted as an oath of blind obedience. It includes a promise “that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. Continue reading

Striving for Perfection

There are many ways that humans can be oppressed; the means of oppression are threats to survival, poverty, threats to freedom and corruption and these threats in all societies are present, but as societies become more prosperous the risk of each threat changes. Continue reading

The Inconvenience of a Just Legal System

The Chief Justice of Sri Lanka used to be Shirani Bandaranayake but she was impeached recently and removed from office. The International Bar Association’ s Human Rights Institute was going to send four lawyers from its Human Rights Institute to investigate the removal of the former Chief Justice, because there were concerns that the impeachment was irregular and motivated by political reasons rather than proper legal reasons. Continue reading

Human Rights Rule the Common Law

I have spent much of my life in courts and seen how the law works in criminal and (mostly) civil cases. I have watched judges make good decisions and bad decisions, and served on a jury which impressed me with the desire of every member to come to the right decision, taking great care and trouble and using all of our ordinary skills and experience of life. The law is an odd taskmaster. Continue reading

It is not necessary to define a camel and a mountain to know what is a camel and what is a mountain

I have never been tired or wearied by the concepts of justice and equality. What has tired me is waiting for justice and equality. Continue reading

Odd Things – Words I do not understand – Diversity

Technically diversity is simply a state of being different. Such a state exists in all human beings; our DNA is unique for everyone (virtually) so when I was required to fill up a questionnaire about diversity (it was a mandatory requirement) I found it hard to understand what diversity meant. I asked the inquiring authority, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Continue reading