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Published: 19 February 2016

Inaugural lecture sheds insight into Supreme Court processes

Alumni, students and special guests were given a fascinating insight into the process of decision making and writing judgements at the inaugural annual lecture for the Sir James Fitzjames Stephen Centre for Criminal Law and Criminalisation in the School of Law.

Our keynote speaker, Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, said that judging is an “awesome responsibility” and judges must be intellectually rigorous throughout the process to give the result that is right – remembering that Supreme Court judgements become legal precedents.

The audience heard that there is an increasing relationship with academics who add a more global perspective to cases and Lord Neuberger noted there were similarities between scientific and legal thinking with the latter fundamentally logical but including common sense and human experience.

When asked if it is possible to separate personal and political views from objective judgement, Lord Neuberger said one was inevitably influenced by their views but that prejudices and bias should be left at the door and law and morality should march together.

Lord Neuberger also addressed a question on the influence of technology on court processes, saying that defamation, privacy and security were the three legal issues most affected by technological development – “the judiciary needs the time for good decision making, and technology moves at great speed so the two are at odds. It is interesting times for the profession”.

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