City Corporation voices support for Judiciary and Rule of Law
The Court of Common Council, the City of London Corporation’s decision-making body, has today overwhelmingly backed a motion expressing its “full and unequivocal support” for the United Kingdom’s judiciary and their role in upholding the rule of law.
In a meeting at Guildhall, elected Members voted “that the continued success of the City of London as a world financial and professional services centre is underpinned by a strong, trusted and independent judicial system”.
The motion also said that the City Corporation will renew its commitment to promoting the rule of law and providing court facilities in the Square Mile for the benefit of the City, the capital and the country.
A letter expressing support for the judiciary from the Court of Common Council will now be sent to the President of the Supreme Court, the Lord Chief Justice of England & Wales, the Lord President of the Court of Session of Scotland and the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland.
The letter will be copied to the Attorney General, the Lord Chancellor, and the Speakers of the Houses of Commons and Lords.
Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City Corporation, said:
“Today’s motion is an affirmation of our long-standing commitment to promote the rule of law and our role in the provision of court facilities for the wider public good.
“This is a role we are proud to play, and why we are developing a new state-of-the-art combined courts facility dedicated to tackling economic crime, which will benefit not just the City, but the rest of London and the UK as a whole.
“We will continue to support the justice system in years to come, recognising the rule of law as a cornerstone of national prosperity and stability.”
The full motion supported by the Court of Common Council is below.
Support for the Independent Judiciary and the Rule of Law
“THAT THIS HONOURABLE COURT, IN:
a) recognising that the continued success of the City of London as a world financial and professional services centre is underpinned by a strong, trusted and independent judicial system, as expressed by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales in July 2018 at the Lord Mayor’s Dinner for HM Judges that ‘the rule of law and a well-functioning justice system underpin the prosperity and stability of the nation’ and affirming that those principles and sentiments are as relevant now as they were then;
b) valuing the City’s deeply rooted connections with the justice system and support of our constitutional settlement over many centuries, including as one of only two guarantors of the Magna Carta of 1215 and, in more modern times, the provision of the Central Criminal Court, the Mayor’s and City Court, and City of London Magistrates’ Court;
c) agreeing with the then Lord Chancellor’s remarks at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in 2018 that ‘together with our expert, independent judiciary, [the Rule of Law] has been – and will continue to be – the solid foundation for our status as a financial and legal global centre. The trust and confidence the Rule of Law provides means that businesses feel they can invest and traders can engage in contracts…’; and
d) endorsing its prior decision to continue to invest in Court provision in London through the development of a new combined courts centre on Fleet Street.
EXPRESSES DEEP CONCERN:
At repeated attacks on the independent judiciary by figures in the media and public life and concurs with the remarks of the then Lord Chancellor at last year’s Lord Mayor’s Banquet that:
“Our institutions have become guardians of our democratic ideals. They ensure that the right checks and balances exist for us and they promote the inherent sense of fairness that exists in our country. They do not work against the people, they share power in the best interests of everyone.
That view … is under attack. Rather than recognising the challenges of a fast-changing society require sometimes complex responses, that we live in a world of trade-offs, that easy answers are usually false answers, we have seen the rise of the simplifiers. Those grappling with complex problems are not viewed as public servants but as engaged in a conspiracy to seek to frustrate the will of the public. They are ‘enemies of the people’.
In deploying this sort of language, we go to war with truth; we pour poison into our national conversation.”
AND THEREFORE RESOLVES:
1. To express its full and unequivocal support for the United Kingdom’s independent, highly professional and experienced judiciary and their role in upholding the Rule of Law in accordance with their Oath to “do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill will”;
2. To reaffirm its commitment to promoting the Rule of Law and provision of Court facilities as core elements of the Corporation’s wider commitment to the national community;
3. To ask that the Chair of the Policy & Resources Committee writes to express our support of the judiciary and the Rule of Law to:
i. The President of the Supreme Court
ii. The Lord Chief Justice of England & Wales
iii. The Lord President of the Court of Session of Scotland
iv. The Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland
Copied to the Attorney General, the Lord Chancellor, and the Speakers of the Houses of Commons and Lords.
Signatories to the Motion were:
Deputy Tom Sleigh
Alderman Tim Hailes, JP
Alderman Emma Edhem
Alderman David Graves
Deputy Jamie Ingham Clark
Vivienne Littlechild, JP
Deputy Edward Lord, OBE, JP
Alderman Gregory Jones, QC
Deputy Alastair Moss
Oliver Sells, QC
William Upton, QC
About the City of London Corporation:
The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk