Judicial dissent and the Supreme Court

Here’s an interesting fact: between June 2013 and February 2014 the Supreme Court bench failed to deliver a single dissenting judgment . As the court enters its fifth year signs are that collegiate working is becoming the fashion in the UK’s top court.

Rather than legal debate being played out in the judgments handed down by the court, there is a conversation being had between the justices behind the scenes. This makes it all the more important to instruct a silk who is skilled enough to answer the questions of the leading legal minds in the country during what is typically a short oral hearing.

Some suggest that an era of certainty will mean fewer cases moving up from the Court of Appeal at a time when it is coming under increased pressure. Others, however, warn that less dissent will do little to help the law evolve and mean fewer challenges in the future.

Lord Neuberger, appointed as Supreme Court president in 2012 , is against banning dissent altogether, but argues there could be a benefit in cutting out unnecessary arguments.

Here’s the question: is an increasingly dissent-free Supreme Court what the legal market really needs?

Also on The Lawyer:

  • Clifford Chance has made up 21 partners , one more than the year before, with one third of its promotions based in Asia
  • Baker & McKenzie is in the process of opening a third office in Australia with the hire of two partners in Brisbane
  • The High Court has ordered the investment vehicle R20 owned by Robert Tchenguiz to surrender £2.5m by way of security for costs after the company’s chopped its claim against the Serious Fraud Office by £1.2m

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