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Lord Hope discusses the dilemmas of judging

13 February 2015

Professor Wincott, Lord Hope and Professor Khaliq

This February, an audience of over 250 people welcomed Lord Hope, former Deputy President of the Supreme Court, to Cardiff Law School. Lord Hope presented a captivating lecture to staff, students and the wider community about the dilemmas faced when deciding cases in the highest Court of the land.

Lord Hope, the eminent Scottish lawyer of his generation, examined five very high profile cases which raised profound moral, ethical, social or religious issues. In his lecture Lord Hope discussed the options open to the Supreme Court and then the approaches the judges actually took.

Lord Hope examined in turn a number of life and death cases: Tony Bland – a victim of the Hillsborough disaster who was left in a persistent vegetative state; Re A – which concerned the conjoined twins Jodie and Mary; the Smith case which involved the obligations of the British Army towards its soldiers serving in Iraq under European Human Rights law; and the so-called ‘assisted dying case’ Nicklinson. Lord Hope also examined one other case which raised profound issues, namely secret evidence (Bank Mellat). With each case, Lord Hope set out how the judges tried to deal with the issues raised, the problems and dilemmas that occurred and also the reflections gained with the benefit of hindsight.

The lecture was organised by Cardiff Law School as its 2015 Annual Lecture. Prior to the lecture, Lord Hope spent time meeting and talking to many students, members of staff and the wider community. The lecture also stimulated debate on Twitter, with attendees sharing their reflections.

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