‘The laws are not silent’

Examining how law and history intertwine
by
January–February 2022, no. 439
Buy this book

Law in a Time of Crisis by Jonathan Sumption

Profile Books, $39.99 hb, 250 pp

‘The laws are not silent’

Examining how law and history intertwine
by
January–February 2022, no. 439

When World War II began, a defence regulation was issued in Great Britain that enabled the home secretary to imprison anyone who they reasonably believed had hostile associations. One such interned individual, Robert Liversidge, objected to his detention and challenged the validity of the home secretary’s decision. In the subsequent case, Liversidge v Anderson, the House of Lords adopted a deferential approach, holding that in a time of war it was inappropriate for the courts to subject the home secretary’s decision making to much scrutiny. But in a thundering dissent, Brisbane-born Lord James ‘Dick’ Atkin disagreed. ‘In England, amid the clash of arms, the laws are not silent,’ he wrote. ‘They may be changed, but they speak the same language in war as in peace.’

Kieran Pender reviews 'Law in a Time of Crisis' by Jonathan Sumption

Law in a Time of Crisis

by Jonathan Sumption

Profile Books, $39.99 hb, 250 pp

Buy this book

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