Ministers risk undermining the authority of the judiciary by starving it of funds, the country’s most senior judge warned in his valedictory speech.
Lord Neuberger – who is standing down as President of the Supreme Court after five years in the top job – has also demanded that Theresa May’s government clarify the position of the European court rulings in the UK after the country quits the EU.
‘The high quality and proper authority of the judiciary, and therefore the rule of law, is at risk if ministers and parliamentarians do not provide us with appropriate support in the form of both words and means,’ Lord Neuberger said in his leaving speech to a packed courtroom.
He went on to caution against politicising the role of the judiciary, saying that ‘misconceived attacks on judges undermine both the rule of law domestically and the international reputation of the legal system, with its consequential financial benefits to the country’.
Several days later, Lord Neuberger told BBC News that ministers urgently needed to clarify the position of rulings from the Court of Justice of the EU after Brexit. ‘If [the government] doesn’t express clearly what the judges should do about decisions of the ECJ after Brexit, or indeed any other topic after Brexit, then the judges will simply have to do their best,’ he said.
But Lord Neuberger warned that ‘to blame the judges for making the law when Parliament has failed to do so would be unfair’.