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Political Bias on the Law Commission

  • May 11th, 2007

There’s too much humbug over Sir Geoffrey Palmer’s donation to the Labour Party.

Good on him. Too few individuals are willing to put money where their principles are. He has not hidden his political stripes. He was a Labour PM. What could be more overt. The time to protest, if at all, was when he was appointed.

The Law Commission is a law reform body. Effective law reformers are rarely politically neutral. Passion is needed. As neutrals the Commission might have more clout in persuading Parliament to pass complex and boring technical reforms without reopening the whole case. On the other hand Sir Geoffrey’s connections seem to have assisted in getting some long overdue boring reforms up the Parliamentary agenda.

The cost for the government should be media and voter scepticism when he is used on  politically contentious matters. I understand, for example, that he may have authored the compromise words for the anti-smacking bill that delivered the victory to the PM and Sue Bradford. That should have put the opponents on high guard.

He’s keeping his side of the deal, and his appointors seem to be delivering on theirs -  holding time slots for long shelved Commission Bills, and not allowing the Ministry of Justice to stall them.

The price for Sir Geoffrey should be to offer his resignation when there is a change of government. A shrewd government might not accept. It is useful to know the best arguments that your opponents can throw at you. 

Comments

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  • Craig Ranapia
  • May 18th, 2007
  • 2:16 pm

Stephen:

I kind of agree with you. If Geoffrey Palmer’s donation to the Labour Party should be raising eyebrows, perhaps it should be wondering if it’s a good look for a partner in a lobbying shop to be cutting cheques to any political party?

Chen Palmer saying on it’s own website that it “has its roots in the North American model of the ‘Washington law firm'”. Well, fine and dandy, but I wonder whether we need the appearance — let alone the reality — of the less savoury aspects of K Street culture.

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  • Dan
  • May 24th, 2007
  • 10:36 pm

You must be playing Devil’s advocate because you couldn’t be more wrong. Sir Geoffrey’s donation to the Labour Party was a tacit endorsement of their passing retrospective legislation which legalised all the cheating Labour did at the last election. Sir Geoffrey fancies himself as a constitutional Law expert. He should have been the first and most vocal critic of this retrospective legislation.

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