Bar Council Annual Report 2016-17

Aim 3 - Role of the Lord Chancellor

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Role of the Lord Chancellor

“It is the judiciary's role to ensure the rule of law underpins our democratic system. Without it fulfilling this vital role, the people would have very limited scope to hold the Government in power to account.”

- Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, Chair of the Bar 2016

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In late 2016 and into 2017, the Bar Council took the lead in defending the independence of the judiciary when judges were branded as ‘Enemies of the People’ in the wake of the High Court ruling in the Article 50 litigation. The Bar Council immediately passed a resolution to condemn the attacks and called on the Lord Chancellor to make a public statement in response.

The resolution read:

“The Bar Council of England and Wales condemns the serious and unjustified attacks on the judiciary arising out of the Article 50 litigation. It regrets the lack of public statement by the Lord Chancellor condemning these attacks and calls upon the Lord Chancellor to do so as a matter of urgency. A strong independent judiciary is essential to a functioning democracy and to upholding the rule of law.”

- Bar Council resolution, 5 November 2016

Chair of the Bar Chantal-Aimée-Doerries QC interviewed by the BBC on the Lord Chancellor's response to criticisms of the judiciary

Chair of the Bar Chantal-Aimée-Doerries QC interviewed by the BBC on the Lord Chancellor's response to criticisms of the judiciary

The Chair of the Bar (at the time) Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC appeared on broadcast media including BBC News, Sky News, BBC Radio, Channel 4 News and Channel 5 News to name a few, as the Bar Council’s stance led the news agenda. The Bar Council’s intervention attracted widespread support from the Bar and extensive media coverage throughout the following week.

The then-Lord Chancellor subsequently expressed her support for the independence of the judiciary.



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☎ CONTACT

Luke Robins-Grace
Senior Communications Adviser
lrobins-grace@barcouncil.org.uk 
0207 630 4689