Lady Hale will ‘absolutely not’ consider recusal following Brexit case remarks

Lady Hale

Deputy President of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, has said she would “absolutely not” recuse herself from the Brexit case following her public remarks on it.

Speaking to Solicitors Journal, the judge said “I have exhibited no bias and those that suggested that I have are simply mistaken.”

Asked whether she would have chosen not to give the speech in hindsight, she said: “It would have been peculiar in the extreme not to mention the case that illustrated some of the things that I was saying in the speech.

“I would probably have done the same, while realising that it might provoke comment. I was very anxious to be as neutral as possible and to simply explain what the case was about, not to express any view at all. It would have been discourteous to my hosts not to explain what was about.”

On the reaction of the press to judgments and comments of the judiciary generally, she said: “Most of the time the press get it right enough. It can be a little bit galling because we can’t fight back if they have misunderstood or, occasionally, misrepresented . But it goes with the job of doing your work in public. That is what we do and we have to get used to it.”

In response to what she thought of the attacks on the Lord Chief Justice and others in the High Court, she said: “People are entitled to say what they think; we have a free press. It is unfortunate if they do not understand that judges don’t choose the cases before them and that they have to decide them according to law. It has nothing to do with politics.

“It is unfortunate that isn’t made clear to the British public, because it is very important they understand what the role of the judiciary is, which is to hear cases in a fair, neutral, and impartial way. You have to be independent and true to your judicial oath and cannot allow yourself to be swayed by extraneous considerations that have nothing to do with the law.”

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