09 August 2017

Sumption and Sovereignty

'The Judicial Individuality of Lord Sumption' by James Lee in (2017) 40(2) University of New South Wales Law Journal scrutinises
the role of the individual judge on the United Kingdom Supreme Court through an analysis of the jurisprudence of Lord Sumption JSC. The examination of the Court’s recent decisions demonstrates that his Lordship is a leading figure on the Supreme Court. It is argued that key cases and extra-curial speeches mark Lord Sumption as a proponent of judicial conservatism, and two 2016 case studies from private law are used to develop this thesis: Patel v Mirza [2016] UKSC 42 on the defense of illegality and Willers v Joyce (No 1) [2016] UKSC 43 on the tort of malicious prosecution. The article concludes that the study has broader implications for the dynamics of judging, both individually and collectively, in a court of final appeal.
'Sovereignty as a Right and as a Duty: Kant's Theory of the State' by Jacob Weinrib in Claire Finkelstein and Michael Skerker (eds), Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority (Oxford University Press, Forthcoming) comments
 Critics of Immanuel Kant’s legal and political philosophy argue that his theory of the state collapses into one of two extremes. For some, Kant is a quietist who regards positive law as the instantiation of justice and thereby deprives himself of a moral standpoint for the criticism of positive law. For others, Kant is an anarchist who denies the authority of law whenever it deviates from the demands of justice. I argue that these interpretations are the opposing products of a common error: the failure to distinguish between Kant’s justification of the right of the state to exercise public authority and his corresponding theory of a perfectly just state. Once these aspects of his theory of the state are disentangled, Kant’s transformative vision comes into view. Far from reducing the idea of a state to either an authoritative fiat or a utopian vision of justice, Kant offers a standpoint for recognizing (1) the public authority of existing states, (2) the standard of justice for assessing the moral adequacy of those states, and (3) the ongoing duty of existing states to direct the exercise of public authority to the deepest possible fulfillment of public justice.