The Putney Debates 2019 - Session 3: How Can We Defend Judicial Independence?

The Putney Debates 2019 were held on 13-14 March at St Mary's Church, Putney, in association with the University of Oxford Law Faculty, to address the constitutional implications of the EU Referendum result for our judiciary.

The 2019 Debates examine the impact of the ‘Enemies of the People’ controversy and threats to the independence of the judiciary posed by populist movements in the UK and further afield.

Professor of Public Law Graham Gee defends the Lord Chancellor's actions in the Enemies of the People controversy, arguing that Lord Judge was wrong to criticize Liz Truss

Paul Magrath, a barrister and advocate of greater transparency in the courts, set out his vision that: "It is crucial that judges explain their judgments clearly to the public" and identifies "The elephant in the room":

A kind of Brexit 2, whereby several MPs want to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which has contributed to the softening approach of the Strasbourg Court


Andrea Coomber, Director of the all-party law reform and human rights organization JUSTICE, explains how the ECtHR has reacted to criticism regarding its judgment on prisoners' voting rights and is now engaging in more dialogue with the UK Supreme Court regarding future decisions.


Session III: How Can We Defend Judicial Independence?  

4.306.30pm, Thursday 14th March

Chair: Joshua Rozenberg, renowned legal commentator

Panellists include:

Frank VibertSenior Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics, formerly UN and World Bank

Nick Friedman, Biegun Warburg Junior Research Fellow in Law, Oxford

Andrea CoomberDirector of JUSTICE, the all-party law reform and human rights organization

Alison Pickup, Barrister & Legal Director, Public Law Project 

Paul Magrath, Barrister & Head of Product Development, Incorporated Council of Law Reporting

Graham Gee, Professor of Public Law, University of Sheffield



Bogdan IancuAssociate Professor, University of Bucharest

Katarína ŠipulováSenior Researcher, Judicial Studies Institute, Masaryk University, Brno

Ezequiel Gonzalez OcantosAssociate Professor in Politics & International Relations, Oxford