This monograph contends that the concept of the independence of the judiciary has not been seriously analyzed in England and examines it through the perceptions of the Lord Chancellor's Office. The Lord Chancellor's Office was established in 1880 as the executive arm of the Lord Chancellor, who is the presiding judge of England, a member of the Cabinet, Speaker of the House of Lords and also head of an executive department - his own office. Working from the records of the Lord Chancellor's Office, the author takes the reader through a number of related areas: the appointment of judges and the attempt to remove them; the disciplining of judges; their role in the Courts; their executive responsibilities, particularly towards the commissions and committees they chair; relations with Parliament and the Civil Service; and the role of the English Judges in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. This work also examines the battles within and around the judiciary over the last 30 years, and places them in the broader context of the separation of powers, the legal system and the politics of the period.
'Books In The Media' Saturday 2 January 1999 (pg 10)
Fascinating ... all lawyers interested in, or concerned about, the way in which their profession is administered will enjoy the instruction which Professor Stevens is able to provide.'
David Pannick, The Times
`I could not put it down ... a fascinating glimpse of legal politics ... I commend this book for those interested in the status and power of the Judiciary.'
Robin de Wilde QC, Counsel
Full of interest ... full of insight ... the value of Stevens' book is that it illustrates from within the bowels of the executive the kinds of tension which increasingly bedevil any state activity which costs money, and the way constitutional principles become tangled and overgrown by the processes of government.'
Stephen Sedley, London Review of Books
`Eminently readable ... particularly timely. A good read for laymen and professionals alike.'
Paul Boateng, The Lawyer
`An illuminating account of relations from Victorian times until now between the Lord Chancellor's senior advisers and the judges. Robert Stevens reinforces many of the beliefs and suspicions of those whose careers have been in the law ... short [and] elegant.'
Stephen Tumim, The Daily Telegraph
`Choosing between policies inevitably blurs the doctrine of separation of powers. Robert Steven's analysis is that judicial independence is thereby threatened.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
`intriguing book ... One particularly important feature of Robert Stevens' account is the imaginative use that he makes of the public records of the Lord Chancellor's Department ... an authoritative and readable account of the formative years of the Lord Chancellor's Department ... This book is an important account of an important subject ... the definitive account of the classical heyday of the Lord Chancellor's Department - before it became, for better
and for worse, a Ministry of Justice'
` e method he has adopted has considerable attraction, in that he has brought the scene to life very skilfully, and has made clear the tensions between the judges and the Lord Chancellor and his senior officials. To do this he has made excellent use of the records of the Lord Chancellor's Office, exiguous though in places they are, in the Public Record Office ... As an account of the problems of judicial administrators during the twentieth century it is
Journal of Law and Society
`'an exploration of the relationships between civil servants, the Lord Chancellor and the judiciary...careful archival research provides numerous small incidents to illuminate the history of the professional status of the judiciary...it does give valuable historical perspectives on the use and abuse of the concept of judicial independence to be found in the records of the Lord Chancellor's Office. Moreover, it is entertaining.''