Former topmost judge opposes the surveillance State

Following up on Stella Rimington etc., comes this powerful public statement from Lord Bingham, former Lord Chief Justice on England and Wales and recently retired as senior Law Lord, a role which becomes president of the new UK Supreme Court next year. Stand by for a new era of tension, perhaps even confrontation. between the executive and the judiciary.

Perhaps the British are content to be the most spied upon people in the democratic world. But this would be surprising given their traditional resistance to official intrusion and their traditional belief that the state should mind its own business, not theirs…There has been a surprising paucity of legal challenges in this area, but the number of challenges may grow in the years to come, as the public appreciate the extent of the surveillance to which they are subject. But the judges are not, in any ordinary sense, legislators: they cannot rule on claims that litigants do not choose to bring before them.

Note that Lord Bingham will be speaking at the Convention on Modern Liberty, on Saturday 28 February at 9.45am at the Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way London WC1, with live screenings at separate sessions in several venues including the Peter Froggatt Centre, Queen’s University, Belfast.

Adds Amnesty NI have supplied at list of the speakers at the Belfast end here

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London