THIS week, Sir David Lidington, MP for Aylesbury, writes exclusively to Bucks Free Press readers about the independence of our court system - and why it is so important:
The rule of law and the independence of the judiciary underpin the freedoms that we enjoy.
Unlike people in many other countries, we know that every individual and organisation, even the most powerful, indeed the government itself, are subject to the law.
When I was a Minister at the Foreign Office, I saw why this mattered to both our personal freedom and our country’s prosperity.
I often asked British businesses why they invested in some countries rather than others.
Again and again, they listed judicial independence as one of their highest priorities.
They wanted to know that in any dispute over a contract the outcome would be decided by an independent court on the basis of law, with no risk of favours being done to oligarchs or government officials.
Similarly, the outstanding global reputation of UK judges and the fearless independence of our courts helps to explain why our country attracts so much investment from around the world.
When I was Lord Chancellor, I got to know the senior judges. To a man and woman they saw their duty as to interpret and apply the law impartially, without fear or favour.
The independent Judicial Appointments Commission makes rigorous, detailed assessments of candidates to serve as judges.
Politics plays no part at all in the process. That’s how it should be.
Woe betide us as a country if we were to slip into a system where different governments tried to select and promote judges whom they thought would be friendly to their politics.
Such a shift would undermine public confidence both here and abroad that our courts could be trusted to be independent of the government of the day.
No-one will agree with every court judgement. But the independence of the courts is a benefit for us all.