Judgements Show Move Away From European To Common Lawhttp://www.theguardian.com/law/20...european-to-common-law?CMP=twt_gu
UK court rulings show move away from European to common law
Supreme court deputy president questions whether return to constitutionalism is response to rise in anti-European sentiment
Leading judges are putting "renewed emphasis" on British constitutional principles after years of concentrating on European legislation as a source of rights and obligations, according to the UK's most senior female judge.
Brenda Hale, deputy president of the supreme court, said a theme was emerging from recent court decisions which suggested that UK constitutionalism was "on the march".
She said she wondered whether the trend was developing as a response to a "rising tide of anti-European sentiment".
Lady Hale made her comments in a lecture to lawyers, which was published on the supreme court website on Friday.
"After more than a decade of concentrating on European instruments as the source of rights, remedies and obligations, there is emerging a renewed emphasis on the common law and distinctively UK constitutional principles as a source of legal inspiration," she told the Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association conference in London. "It seems to me to take us in some interesting directions."
Hale said the theme had been characterised as "the empire strikes back" but she preferred to "broaden" it into "UK constitutionalism on the march".
She listed a number of recent supreme court decisions and said there was a "growing awareness of the extent to which the UK's constitutional principles should be at the forefront of the court's analysis".
Litigants and litigators had been reminded that they should look "first to the common law to protect their fundamental rights".
Hale said it was for others to decide whether the trend was developing "as a response to the rising tide of anti-European sentiment among parliamentarians, the press and the public"; whether a marker was being put down for what might happen if the 1998 Human Rights Act was repealed; or whether it was "simple irritation that our proud traditions of UK constitutionalism seemed to have been forgotten".