The Lord Chief Justice of Great Britain, Igor Judge, gave a speech in March to the Judicial Studies Board in which he argued that English courts were moving away from reliance upon English common law in making decisions, and instead were resting decisions upon the European Convention on Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.
The Lord Chief Justice queried: "Are we becoming so focused on Strasbourg and the Convention that instead of incorporating Convention principles within and developing the common law according to a single coherent unit, we are allowing the Convention to assume an unspoken priority over the common law? Or is it that we are just still on honeymoon with the Convention?"
He then gave a warning,
We must beware. It would be a sad day if the home of the common law lost its standing as a common law authority.
Am I alone in thinking that we are being presented with far too many authorities, both our own and from Europe, which do not bind us at all domestically? Perhaps we should reflect on the way in which I detect that our Australian colleagues (and those from other common law countries) seem to be claiming bragging rights as the custodians of the common law.
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Photo of Lord Chief Justice Igor Judge: AP Images