Saturday, 19 March 2011

Justice must be fair and seen to be fair

Anna Raccoon has an extremely important post on a debate which took place last Thursday in Westminster Hall, to which Charonqc links in his post on the same subject, the subject of which was people who have lost their liberty in the UK behind closed doors. (Do please read both posts and also the links contained therein)

Although a slightly different area of law, but when discussing decisions made 'behind closed doors', it is also appropriate to recall cases of children being committed into care in County Courts on what might be considered the flimsiest of evidence - and on what one might also suggest could be termed 'procedural' unacceptability. Christopher Booker, in his columns in the Sunday Telegraph, has highlighted many such cases, one of which can be read here. Further examples from Booker can be found here and here.

From the debate it is also not acceptable for the situation described by John Hemming to exist (Col 145WH):
"On the processes of councils, it is interesting that I have discovered that their senior management and councillors have no knowledge of what is really going on in social services departments throughout the country on a day-to-day basis. There is no real scrutiny in the councils, and the fact that elected officials are in charge of them does not result in any proper scrutiny."
From the final words of John Hemming in this debate:
"We need to take action to protect our constituents. The accountability of the courts rests on people knowing what is going on, even if anonymously."
If MPs should be able to take action to protect their constituents, then local councillors should be so able. If the accountability of the courts rests on people knowing what is going on, then I would submit that that should apply to all courts.

Whilst it would appear that there is much wrong with our constitution, our political system, it would also seem there is much wrong with our judicial system.  

Afterthought: With our legal system seemingly being subsumed into EU judicial law at an ever increasing rate, why are MPs wasting their time discussing issues like this?

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