The fourth non-lawyer Lord Chancellor in a row was sworn in at a ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice in June, promising to defend the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.
David Lidington said: ‘I am determined I will be resolute and unflinching as Lord Chancellor in upholding the rule of law and defending the independence of the judiciary,’ which ‘form the very bedrock of a free and democratic society’ and ‘safeguard us against tyranny and dictatorship’.
He praised judges’ intellect, sharp legal minds, and wealth of knowledge, together with their dedication, personal integrity and commitment to ensure the judiciary is ‘fair, free from improper influence, and truly independent’. Judges, he said, embody the rule of law.
The speech will have been welcomed by senior judges, after the perceived failure of his predecessor, Liz Truss, to stand up for the independence of the judiciary in the wake of the media attack that followed the Brexit judgment.
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, said it was ‘vital for the whole of our state’ that his third oath, which encapsulates the ‘special constitutional responsibilities for respecting the rule of law, for defending the independence of the judiciary and for the provision of resources which Parliament has entrusted to the Lord Chancellor’ was ‘fully discharged’.
Welcoming the new Lord Chancellor, Bar Chair Andrew Langdon QC emphasized that: ‘Justice is not a ‘service’ that governments can choose to provide or not; it is a separate branch of a democratic government.’