Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice and most senior judge in England and Wales, has said that courts need only ‘take account’ of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.
In evidence to the Lords constitutional committee, Lord Judge was asked whether Strasbourg always won. He replied: ‘I would like to suggest that maybe Strasbourg shouldn’t win and doesn’t need to win. I think for Strasbourg, I think there is yet a debate to happen, it will have to happen in the Supreme Court, about what we really do mean in the Human Rights Act, what Parliament means in the Human Rights Act, when it said that the courts in this country must take account of the decisions of European Court of Human Rights. I myself think it is at least arguable that having taken account of the decision of the court in Strasbourg our courts are not bound by them. Give them due weight in most cases obviously, we would follow them but not, I think, necessarily.’