Memoranda by Rt Hon Lord Woolf of Barnes,
Rt Hon Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers and Rt Hon Lord Bingham
Letter from the Senior Law Lord to the
Chairman of the Committee
I am not quite sure how much help I shall be
able to give. The separation of powers as between the legislature
and the judiciary is an important constitutional principle, neither
being accountable to the other. I shall accordingly feel inhibited
in answering any question which relates not just to individual
cases but to past or likely future trends of judicial decision-making.
On the four points you specifically raise:
(1) My views in favour of incorporation
are a matter of public record. Experience so far has not led me
to modify those views.
(2) I cannot comment on the judges'
approach to application of section 3 of the 1988 Act.
(3) I cannot comment on the courts'
approach to a ministerial statement of compatibility.
(4) Since the courts are now required
to take into account the materials listed in section 2(1) of the
1998 Act, they are increasingly referred to these materials. This
strengthens a trend evident over the last few years. I am not
personally aware of any practical difficulties in applying the
Act, and the courts in which I sit receive all the assistance
The Right Honourable Lord Bingham of Cornhill
20 February 2001