by D.J. Webb
Libertarians have generally been concerned about the development of a police state. While I am concerned over the behaviour of the police—and in particular, what Sam Francis in the US called anarcho-tyranny [“we refuse to control real criminals (that’s the anarchy) so we control the innocent (that’s the tyranny)”; see here]—there is a good deal of evidence that it is the courts that are driving the creation in our society of the miasma of state control. So I am more worried about living in a judicial state. A police state could be a state where laws passed by Parliament are enforced in an overbearing manner; a judicial state is one where the laws aren’t even drawn up by Parliament in the first place. There is a connection between the two, of course, because in the absence of judicial tyranny, high-handed actions by the police and other officials could be combated. Once the judges are committed to unaccountable rule, it is harder to discern a path out of the maze we’re in.
Judges v. politicians
It is quite clear that our senior judges view themselves as the key legislators in Britain today. Politicians have been left bewildered by the confrontational judgements passed down by judges, who seem to be trying to establish the judiciary, rather than Parliament, as the senior branch of the constitution. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, recently lamented the supremacy of the judiciary in the pages of the Daily Mail:
Some of our judges appear to have got it into their heads that Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights, the ‘right to family life’, is an absolute, unqualified right. This means that if a foreign criminal can show that he has a family in this country, they take the view he has a right to remain here, regardless of the gravity of the offences. That interpretation is wrong. The Convention is quite plain: the right to family life is not an absolute right, like the right not to be tortured. It is a qualified right, and it can be restricted when that is required, for example, to protect public safety, or for the prevention of crime. [Read more here]
Judges have ignored a recent unanimous vote in Parliament on the deportation of foreign criminals, leaving Mrs May floundering:
I find it difficult to see how that can be squared with the central idea of our constitution, which is that Parliament makes the law, and judges interpret what that law is and make sure the executive complies with it. For almost all of the long history of disputes between judges and Parliament, it has been common ground that Parliament is the ultimate law-maker, and that it is not for the judges to be legislators. It is essential to democracy that the elected representatives of the people make the laws that govern this country—and not the judges.
Yet Mrs May has not advanced a programme of legislative reform to bring the judiciary into line; neither does she argue that errant judges should be cashiered The logic of her position is that the government should persuade the judiciary to hand down more reasonable judgements, but in no case will judges be held to account for their decisions. It seems clear, therefore, that Parliament stands no chance of resuming effective control over the administration of justice in this country, and as judicial review can call into question all decisions made by the executive, both legislative and executive functions are being taken over by the judiciary.
The EU and the Human Rights Act
Immigration is a key battleground, because once our porous borders are surrendered, this country is no longer ours, and decisions on the future of our society and economy will increasingly be taken by people who don’t share our traditions. Yet immigration is far from being the only arena of judicial overstepping of the bounds. Britain’s purported membership of the European Union and the bringing in of the Human Rights Act now allow wide latitude to legislation from the judicial bench.
The European Communities Act 1972 claimed to allow the EU (or the then “Common Market”) to legislate for the UK, with such legislation overriding domestic laws. No attempt has ever been made to show that the Crown in Parliament had the right to pass any such statute subjecting us to foreign control. The Human Rights Act 1998 is a further accretion to the powers of the judiciary, in that judges now regularly interpret statutes in novel ways deemed to be more in line with the European Convention on Human Rights. Both of these Acts have imported new sources of law other than laws passed by the Westminster Parliament into the constitution, and both allow considerable latitude to foreign and domestic judges in their implementation.
An example of the sort of ‘legislation’ that can be pushed through by the judiciary is the recent case on the pension rights of part-time judges. Ignoring the obvious conflict of interest in the judiciary deciding to expand judicial pension entitlements, what we are confronted with here is a public spending commitment ordered by the courts:
The ruling arises from a claim begun in the employment tribunal in 2005 by former part-time recorder Dermod O’Brien, who upon retirement was told that he was not entitled to a pension.
The case has since worked its way through the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, the European Court of Justice and back to the Supreme Court for today’s judgment.
The case depended on whether the 1997 EU directive on part-time workers applied to judges and, if it did, whether excluding part-time judges from judicial pensions contravened both it and the Part-time Workers Regulations 2000 that implemented it into UK law.
The Supreme Court ruled that judges are ‘workers’ for the purposes of the 2000 regulations. [Link here]
Whatever the merits of the part-time judges’ case—and I would argue that all public-sector pensions are a form of fraud—it seems totally wrong for a major spending commitment to be ordered by the judges.
The case of the Jordanian extremist, Abu Qatada, is a clear case of the usurpation of the executive function of government by the judiciary. This man was first detained under anti-terrorism legislation in the UK in 2002, but 11 years later he is still in the country, living it up on welfare. The Law Lords have ruled that he cannot be deported to Jordan in case he is tortured, as this would breach human-rights provisions of the European Convention. A constant to-and-fro with the judiciary on this subject has run up huge legal bills, and he is no closer to leaving the country. I can’t quite understand why the government does not use the Crown’s Reserve Powers to deport him overnight.
These are just two examples of the overbearing behaviour of the judiciary in England today. Legislative and executive decisions made by judges are so numerous that they are reported on on a daily basis in the newspapers, running the whole gamut from anti-discrimination legislation, workers’ rights to absurd compensation suits and many other branches of law.
The Common Law and the rights of Crown and Parliament
It is often argued that English law is “judge-made law”. If that is the case, then it seems English law only really got into its stride in 1972 when the UK joined the European Union, or what was then the Common Market, because greater latitude has since been given to judicial legislation. To get behind the concept of “judge-made law”, we have to look at the origins of the constitution.
First of all, if judges have any rights or powers, where did they get them from? And since when have they had them? Who gave them to them? Most countries have experienced numerous wars and revolutions, constantly overturning the constitutional history of those lands. England is almost unique in the antiquity of its law and constitution. Unlike countries where the constitution is a piece of paper introduced after a violent revolution and possibly ratified by a plebiscite, in England the origins of the constitution are lost in the mists of time—our law dates back to “time immemorial”. There is a circularity in most constitutional setups: after a revolution, a group seizes power, convenes a constitutional congress, passes laws and finalises a constitutional document, submitted to plebiscite. From then on, that is “law”. However, there is no attempt to show that such constitutional congresses had a prior right to be convened, or that a majority plebiscite conducted under intense state propaganda is legitimate. For a start, protection of minority rights would not necessarily be guaranteed under a plebiscite, and so the right of a majority to walk roughshod over the minority is simply asserted, but not proven. The law is what the state says it is, and the reason why the state setup is as it is is because the state says it should be: such circular reasoning chases its own tail.
In England, there is no constitutional document—I would argue the attempt to introduce one would be unlawful, almost certainly amounting to an attempt to abolish key aspects of English Common Law, as our law should not depend on a piece of paper, but on natural principles accepted for well over 1,000 years—and so there is no circularity in our Constitution. Parliament’s right to pass laws does not derive from any proclamation by Parliament of those rights—that would be no more legitimate than my announcing my right to rule the country as dictator—the Queen’s right to reign does not derive from any Royal proclamation to that effect; and the authority of the judges does not derive from their own assertion of their powers. If any of these branches of the Constitution derived their powers from self-proclamation of them, the circular reasoning would be clear.
Let us start with the Monarchy. The Queen does not have an absolute right to accede to the throne and reign over us. Had such an absolute right existed, it would be the heir to the Jacobite throne who would hold it, and the Queen would be a usurper. The fact that Matilda was prevented from inheriting the throne in the 12th century; that King John acceded to the throne in defiance of the rights of Arthur of Brittany; that Edward II was deposed; that Richard II was deposed; that Henry IV took the throne in defiance of the rights of the House of York; that Henry VI was deposed by Edward IV of the House of York; that Henry VII inaugurated the House of Tudor despite having no substantial claim to it; that Charles I was executed; that James II was effectively deposed; that William III and Mary II took the throne in defiance of the rights of the James II and the Old Pretender; and that the line of succession was altered to the House of Hanover by parliamentary statute: these all show there is no absolute right of a Monarch to inherit the throne.
As I showed in another essay, the Coronation of the Monarch includes an ancient elective ceremony which in the Queen’s Coronation Service was known as “the Recognition”, where those present, largely prelates of the Church of England and nobles, were invited to recognise or hail the monarch as “their undoubted queen”. The origin of this is that a monarch was originally not accorded the title of king until after the coronation service, and the Church of England, representing the people of England, ultimately has the right to refuse to crown an inappropriate monarch. It is claimed today that this is just mere ceremony, but the Coronation Oath places clear obligations on the monarch, to uphold our laws and the rights of the church.
When William I conquered England, he did so by adhering to the pre-existing constitutional norms: he had himself crowned by the Church of England and took the Coronation Oath of the Anglo-Saxon kings. It is clear therefore that the position in English law of the monarchy can be traced back to pre-Conquest times when kings were required to take an oath to behave in a certain manner as they governed the country. To view the Queen herself as a freestanding source of constitutional law is to get things backwards: the Queen’s right to be queen in itself depends on the Common Law and her oath, and the oaths of a long line of ancestors, to uphold “the law of the land”.
The rights of Parliament are not based, as in other countries, on some kind of majoritarian plebiscite. Neither are they based on Parliament’s own assertion of those rights. In the final analysis they are also based on English Common Law, dating back to the rights of the Anglo-Saxon Witan, the Norman Curia Regis and the rights of the lords acknowledged by King John. This is because Parliament’s right to sit and pass laws in the first place is a common-law right. This means that the Common Law is the fundamental law of the land in this country, and the Crown in Parliament is sovereign insofar as the monarch and the two houses of the legislature are there by dint of the provisions of the Common Law.
It cannot be any other way. If you showed me a statute of Parliament that purported to be the original of Parliament’s rights, I would immediately ask you for a prior document showing that Parliament had the right to pass such a law. That is why constitutions born of revolutions and plebiscites can only be circular when it comes to establishing the foundations of those constitutions. Consequently, unlike the situation in other countries, England has a framework of law that predates the current evolution of the institutions of state. This is why in the case, conducted in 1610, of Thomas Bonham v. the College of Physicians, known as Dr. Bonham’s Case, the chief justice, Sir Edward Coke, made the following statement in his ruling in the Court of Common Pleas:
And it appears in our books that, in many cases, the common law will control Acts of Parliament, and sometimes adjudge them to be utterly void; for when an Act of Parliament is against common right and reason, or repugnant, or impossible to be performed, the common law will control it, and adjudge such an Act to be void. [Thomas, John Henry, and Fraser, John Farquhar (eds). The Reports of Sir Edward Coke, Knt, in Thirteen Parts, Volume IV, Part VIII, London: Joseph Butterworth & Son, 1826, folio 118b, p375.]
Here we have clear proof that traditionally the legislature too was bound by the Common Law. The presumption that Parliament can do whatever it likes derives from the constitutional theories of William Blackstone and Walter Bagehot, writing in the 18th and 19th centuries, but these men were not constitutional sovereigns whose thoughts became law once the ink dried on their writings. Their views were either in accord with the English Constitution or not, and to be analysed accordingly. It should be pointed out that I am not here asserting any doctrine of judicial supremacy, allowing judges to strike down all Acts of Parliament that do not accord with their views—but rather a view that judges themselves are bound by the Common Law. (I should add here that the Erskine May parliamentary rulebook that gives the Crown the right to enter a reservation against a proposed law before it is discussed in Parliament is as wrongheaded as the writings of Blackstone and Bagehot: Erskine May’s views are only relevant insofar as they were a correct statement of the constitution, and parliamentary law drafters who claim a law must be withdrawn because of a Royal objection should be dismissed forthwith for attempting to undermine our democracy. The legislature is bound by the Common Law; but so is the Crown, and any doctrine that this is not the case has to be rejected as a proposed innovation that removes the kernel of our constitution.) I therefore cannot agree that the constitutional theories of 18th- and 19th-century writers or parliamentary clerks should be held to successfully overturn our Common Law. The Crown and Parliament are bound in by the Common Law, as without it they have no right to be there at all.
Clearly, it is a great convenience to the Establishment if Parliament be untrammelled: on all sides, the political class agree with the way the Constitution was set out by Blackstone and Bagehot and the parliamentary rulebook of Erskine May is wielded in defence of the Establishment to prevent unpalatable laws from ever getting off the ground in the first place. It seems that between Sir Edward Coke’s presentation and that of William Blackstone, a fundamental shift had taken place, and that shift was in the views of the political class. Now, formally, the rulings of the higher courts bind those of lower courts, and if the higher courts state that Parliament or the courts are not bound by the Common Law, then lower courts must implement that view. However, judges themselves are also meant to be accountable: our Common Law provides for the impeachment of judges at the bar of the House of Lords. That such a state trial has not been attempted for centuries does not change the fact that impeachment is possible. The Act of Settlement 1700 also provided for the removal of judges by the presentation of a petition to the Queen from the Houses of Parliament.
Holding judges accountable
Clearly, those who claim our law is “judge-made” are relying on the fact that no English judge has been held to account under the Act of Settlement, and the last attempt to impeach a judge was in the reign of Charles II. Impeachment is effectively a political process: unless the House of Commons is determined to uphold the constitution, there will be no impeachment. Ultimately, therefore, the dissolution of our constitution comes because too many of us are willing to allow it to happen. We vote for our representatives in Parliament, and if we don’t ensure they impeach errant judges, our slide into unfreedom is what we have, at least passively, “chosen”. Those who assert that law is just the arithmetical sum of the judgements handed down in courts ignore the fact that Parliament could petition the Queen to remove the Law Lords, and then appoint new judges, and those judges would be members of the final court, and could hand down ruling more in line with traditional views on the constitution and bind all lower courts in doing so. In the end, therefore, the fact that judges are permitted to make law, and make new constitutional norms, is a product of our political willingness to do nothing to stop them.
The greater authority of judges nowadays is reflected in the fact that the House of Lords now claims to be a Supreme Court. Traditionally, we referred to “the high court of Parliament”, and the twelve Law Lords were a subcommittee of the House of Lords, composed of hereditary peers and the bishops of the Church of England. Consequently, the judicial chamber known as the House of Lords was not supreme, but rather subordinate to the parliamentary chamber known as the House of Lords. The Queen in Parliament was by definite supreme—although with powers hedged in by the Coronation Oath and the compact between Crown and people stipulated in the Common Law—and so the statement that the “justices of the Supreme Court” as they like to be known nowadays are “supreme” is a considerable overturning of the constitution.
It is worth pointing out that the passage of statutes traditionally required threefold consent of Crown, Lords and Commons. By allowing life peers to grow inordinately in number, the trifold consent was undermined. Life peers are by definition commoners, and so the setup has become threefold consent by Crown, well-connected commoners, and commoners who are voted for. Why the Common Law would stipulate that Lords have a role in the constitution is an interesting question. I have argued in another place that there should not be taxes on labour and capital, but taxes on land ownership and natural resources only, and, to that extent, those who control the social resources of land ought to submit to a levy to pay for what few services the government needs to provide, and their presence in the legislature reflected the fact that they were a source of public income (or controlled the land, which is the real source thereof). To move the burden of taxation from land and natural resources to labour and capital, and then to allow “life peers” who are not substantial payers of a land tax to sit in the House of Lords is to subvert our constitutional order. Any life peers created should be people with substantial holdings of land only, but the land value tax is the subject of another article. It is enough here to state that the House of Lords, the legislature chamber as currently constituted, is not the House of Lords required in our Common Law.
Just as the House of Lords needs to be restored, so the right of the House of Lords to dismiss the Law Lords and take judgements over into the whole chamber of peers needs to be reestablished. Such judgements would bind all lower courts. Consequently, it can be seen that turning the House of Lords, the senior court, into an allegedly Supreme Court, is designed to remove the law lords from parliamentary oversight. The Houses of Parliament technically still have the right to cashier the “justices of the Supreme Court”, but the creation of a “Supreme Court” is intended to reverse the balance of power between the legislature and the judiciary.
I would argue the statement that the House of Lords is a “supreme” court is ipso facto treason, usurping as it does the Crown’s sovereignty. Condign punishment of all present and future judges who claim to be supreme is vital as part of a programme of judicial reform. Other grounds on which the judges may be held to account include judicial perjury. The judicial oath of office, discussed by me elsewhere, requires the judges to uphold the law of the land—the Common Law—and yet we frequently find judges happily refusing to implement laws, whether of the statute or of the Common-Law variety.
Judges and the Bill of Rights
One key example is the right to bear arms. This is explicitly provided for in the 1689 Bill of Rights, a statute that has never been repealed, and no part of which has been repealed. The interplay between statutes and the Common Law may be discussed here. The Common Law gives us the right of self-defence—this right is actually ours according to natural justice, and cannot be taken away, and the Common Law is simply a codification of the rules of natural justice—and yet judges have refused to allow us to bear arms without the permission of a Chief Constable. Statute law may update the Common Law for new circumstances—but not substantially remove longheld rights—and so a law designed to prevent only those with criminal records from obtaining arms might be legitimate, but a law preventing any of us from doing so is unlawful, and so the fact that all police forces in England have implemented regulations denying firearms licences to those who state they are seeking them for self-defence amounts to a surreptitious overturning of the Bill of Rights. It is the substantial nature of the overriding of Common-Law rights that is the problem here. Of course, there will be those who claim that the judgements of the House of Lords and the Court of Appeal lay down new judge-made law, and so their views on firearms have become part of the Common Law, but then there is no reason why the judges of those courts should not be impeached—and so ultimately, the shift in our constitution flows from our refusal to impeach the judges, and not from the judges’ attempt to unpick the constitution.
Weights and measures are another example. It was well-understood until recently that no statute could bind the hand of future Parliaments, and so the later statue overrode the former. Media reports of the court case on weights and measures decided by Lord Justice Laws in 2002 indicated that the judge repeatedly acknowledged this fact in court, before changing his mind in his judgement, and, conveniently, refusing to allow a transcript of the case to be released. The only way judges of this ilk can be dealt with is by impeachment, but Lord Justice Laws has clearly calculated that, as there has been no judicial impeachment since the English Civil War, he may substitute his personal preferred constitutional reading for the law as previously understood.
The weights and measures case rested on the 1985 Act allowing use of British weights. If this later law had been allowed to stand, it would have overriden a consequence of the 1972 European Communities Act. A bit of casuistical thinking on the part of the judge allowed him to rule that as the 1972 Act was a major piece of constitutional legislation, it could not be impliedly repealed by a later Act. Any Act repealing it or any of its provisions would have to expressly say so. Phew! So our membership of the European Union trundles on! The judge did state that there were other key constitutional acts, which he listed as including the Bill of Rights, the Act of Settlement, the Act of Union with Scotland and others, but he did not waste any time on considering whether the 1972 Act had in itself “impliedly” overriden longstanding constitutional legislation. (These judges are either dense or devious, and my money is on the latter.)
Interestingly, there are consequences that flow from Lord Justice Laws’ decision, including the fact the 1689 Bill of Rights expressly forbids the levying of fines without a court case. It should be understood I am not stating that the 1689 Bill of Rights overrides later statutes; what I am saying is that the provisions of the Bill of Rights, insofar as they were correct statements of the Common Law, cannot be overridden. It is the Common Law that is our fundamental law, not some 1689 piece of paper. (So the provision of that Act that only Protestants be allowed to bear arms could be validly struck down as inconsonant with our age-old constitution, which drew no distinction on the grounds of fait; there is no reason, therefore, why the IRA should disarm.) However, the prohibition of the administrative levying of fines expresses a longstanding principle of the Common Law. Consequently, Acts granting tax authorities, local governments and others the right to impose fines without a court case are unlawful.
Yet clearly, this is quite inconvenient to the judges. Lord Justice Laws’ “ruling”—an unlawful ruling—logically meant that Acts claiming to grant the authority to levy administrative fines would only be acceptable if they expressly repealed the Bill of Rights. Yet when the parking fine scam was appealed against in court, the judges decided that parking fines are not “fines”, but in fact “civil responsibilities”. This kind of playing with words is clear evidence of malice aforethought in the act of judicial perjury. This is because all punishments—including submitting to imprisonment—are civil responsibilities for those guilty of crimes or misdemeanours, but the issue that the courts needed to focus on was whether a punishment ought to be imposed without judicial proceedings. The fact that millions of such fines, including for parking, speeding, putting bins out in the wrong fashion, are imposed and that the courts would be clogged up by millions of cases if a court case were required in each case is not relevant: if so many fines are being handed out, it shows that serious offences are not being committed and that law-abiding people are being wrongly punished by administrative means.
A final aspect of the Bill of Rights that is being called into question is the right of MPs in Parliament to unrestricted speech. Judges handing down outrageous speech bans and injunctions on people visiting their children have been dismayed that the details of such cases are being discussed in Parliament and consequently reported on in the press in defiance of court injuncations. And yet the Bill of Rights states that parliamentary proceedings “ought not” to be questioned in court. It is therefore a serious assault on the constitution for senior judges to suggest (see link) they might hold newspapers in contempt of court for reporting what is said in Parliament. The striking down of Acts of Parliament for incompatibility with the Human Rights Act and European “law” is also an unlawful questioning of Parliamentary proceedings. The only grounds on which an Act may be lawfully defeated is by upholding the pre-eminent status of our ancient rights under the Common Law.
Judges and Magna Carta and Common-Law rights
A similar dismissive attitude is taken by our judiciary to Magna Carta, which it is claimed has been repealed, or most of the provisions of which have been repealed. Such statements betray gross ignorance, because Magna Carta was not a statute, and so cannot have been repealed. There was no Parliament in 1215. What the statement that Magna Carta has been repealed seems to mean is that the later 1297 Confirmation of the Charter Act has been substantially repealed: that Act gave statute acknowledgement to most of the provisions of Magna Carta, but even if the 1297 Act has been repealed (or allegedly repealed, as I am arguing here Common Law provisions cannot be substantially repealed), that does not alter the status of Magna Carta, the provisions of which remain in force to the extent that they were correct statements of the Common Law.
This is important because the right of rebellion against the Crown, given in Article 61 of the original text of Magna Carta—and not included in the 1297 Act—forms the basis for the refusal of Freeman on the Land to cooperate with the Queen’s riding roughshod, or her government’s riding roughshod, over our rights. The requirement under Magna Carta that the Crown restore the constitution where required to by a committee of barons was used in a petition to the Queen in 2001 (link here), but the petition was not acted upon, and yet the Crown’s reply came within the required 40 days, providing some kind of acknowledgement of the terms of Magna Carta. With the Crown claiming the right to take us into a supra-sovereign body, the European Union, and with government leaders virtually to a man guilty of treason, there seems little doubt that the right of rebellion is well-founded in England today.
It seems curious that the serious political crimes of treason and praemunire—the attempt to place England under foreign authority, a longstanding crime on the statute books purportedly repealed shortly before our entry into the European Union—have been replaced by a series of political crimes that overturn our fundamental Common Law liberties. One may mention here the race relations farrago. There is no way, under the Common Law, the Crown may compel any Englishman to adopt any particular views on black people, women, homosexuals, gypsies, or anyone else. One could argue that “racism”—extremely loosely defined in order to give the powers that be control of the agenda—is the new “treason”. Laws against “discrimination” overturn the entire basis of English Common Law by abolishing freedom of speech and freedom of association. The state intervenes directly in the attitudes, beliefs and assumptions of every individual in this way.
Similarly, the failure to institute a poll tax in the 14th century gave English people a longstanding Common-Law right not to be subjected to personal taxation. As pointed out above, statutes may update the Common Law, but not in such a way as to substantially alter longheld rights. A temporary income tax, under necessity, during the Napoleonic Wars, could be classed as something forced on the government by circumstances, and not contrary to the Common Law if indeed temporary to address an extreme situation. The annual renewal of such a temporary provision every year for nearly 200 years does, however, substantially alter the balance of power between the state and the individual in a way that is contrary to Common Law. The judges are, by their judicial oaths, required to strike down such unlawful impositions, and the even more egregious attempts to levy “fines” on those not playing this game. All fines levied by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs are unlawful, because they are administrative fines, without any judicial process.
An example of a breach of the constitutional that straddles the divide between breaches of the Bill of Rights and breaches of the Common Law is the way in which the Council Tax is enforced today. Traditionally, a tax was levied on land title—a tax on the landowners, and not on the residents—but the Council Tax is an unlawful poll tax, levied on all residents, save for the privileged millions on “welfare”, who nevertheless retain the vote in local council elections. This overturns the prohibition of personal taxation in English Common Law, but the way it is enforced also manages to contravene the Bill of Rights, in that collection is dealt with by local council computer systems (without human intervention), which have been given the right to issue “court summons” to proceedings that do not have magistrates present, during which large fines are imposed on non-payers. Lord Chief Justice Widgery stated in the R. v. Brentford Justices ex parte Catlin case in 1975 that “a decision by magistrates whether to issue a summons pursuant to information laid involves the exercise of a judicial function, and is not merely administrative.” (See All England Law Reports  2 All ER QBD p206-207.) Consequently, the overtaking of a judicial function by local government computer systems is a significant breach of the constitution, as only magistrates and their clerks may issue summons and impose fines. Yet the law on council tax non-payment is bedevilled by a plethora of “regulations” handed down by government departments without passage through Parliament, which the courts may deem to permit the administrative levying of fines on millions of people every year. It is entirely wrong for regulations that have not even been discussed in Parliament to be held to remove longstanding constitutional rights.
While we have a notably useless political class, and I therefore note Sean Gabb’s comments on the holding of Parliament to account by judges, there is no way back to a free country without a restoration of the Crown in Parliament to full sovereignty on the basis of English Common Law. This means that the House of Lords must be re-established, and judges who overstep the law impeached. It also means that all laws should go through Parliament. There may be a place for statutory instruments of the most technical kind—a detailed listing of food product safety requirements and the like—but other than detailed scientific and technical regulations, everything else should go through Parliament. Ministers should therefore, other than on wholly technical matters, not have the right to issue regulations. The right to bear arms and the right to a court case before facing punishment should be re-established. A ten-year programme of reduction, leaving to abolition, of personal taxation should be instituted in order to re-establish the correct relationship between the individual and the state.
Our difficulty is that all judges have accepted the violation of our constitution, and so the passage of a law or two would be insufficient to restore our Common Law. We need, at a minimum, to sack the entire judicial bench, and replace them. The most senior judges, those in the self-proclaimed Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, should serve long prison sentences for taking part in a conspiracy against the law. All judicial pensions should be abolished. Ex-magistrates should be prevented from standing for local government elections, because those with a history of collusion in fraud, which is what implementation of fine-by-computer-system to enforce the council tax amounts to, are not fit and proper people to serve in government. We must take on the judiciary, or else we don’t deserve to be free people at all.