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Supreme Court can give the in-depth treatment: Lord Reed

10 May 2017

The restricted number of cases taken to the UK Supreme Court means that each can be given the "Rolls Royce treatment", according to Lord Reed, one of the two Scottish Justices on the court.

Speaking to the Herald ahead of the court sitting in Edinburgh for the first time next month (click here for report), Lord Reed points out that the court only deals with about 70 or 75 cases a year from the whole of the UK, compared with the "many hundreds" appealed to the Inner House of the Court of Session or the "many thousands" to the Court of Appeal in England & Wales.

He compared sitting on a first level appeal court to "being on the till at Tesco", with lots of cases coming down the belt and having to be processed as well as possible in the time available.

By contrast, in the Supreme Court "We pick the cases that we hear as being the most important ones and we have the time to look at these cases with much more care and trouble than we could when I was sitting as an Inner House judge."

The judge believes the sitting in Edinburgh comes at a time when more people are taking an interest in how justice is administered in the UK – helped by the live streaming of hearings before the Supreme Court. This attracted a very large audience for the hearing of the appeal on whether Parliament had to authorise the giving of the article 50 notice to leave the European Union.

Further, the court is able to achieve more consistency of approach while it remains the case that laws across the UK have to be tested against the European Convention on Human Rights.

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