European Journal of Law Reform

Article

Judging Reformers and Reforming Judges

Keywords law reform, common law, judges, United Kingdom Supreme Court, legal reasoning
Authors James Lee
Author's information

334727 James Lee
James Lee is Reader in English Law and PC Woo Research Fellow 2016-2017 at The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, and Associate Academic Fellow of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple; Senior Visiting Fellow, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, University of New South Wales; and Visiting Professor, Hong Kong University. I am grateful to Enrico Albanesi, Mark Lunney, Jonathan Teasdale and all those who attended the Law Reform Workshop at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in November 2017 and a Kirby Seminar at the School of Law at the University of New England at which drafts of this article were presented. I thank both PC Woo & Co and the Faculty of Law at UNSW for the generous support for the project of which this article forms part. All views, and any errors, are my own.
  • Abstract

      This article examines the practice and limits of judicial law reform. In particular, I consider the question of when initiation of a reform is appropriate for the judiciary as opposed to the legislature, an issue which has been a matter of controversy amongst the Justices of the United Kingdom Supreme Court. This question is assessed in the light of the institutional and constitutional competences of the courts, particularly with respect to the structure of common law reasoning. It is also argued that it is important to have regard to perspectives of the relevant judges, in understanding the individual and collective approaches to the judicial development of the law.

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