Richard Ekins

Richard Ekins KC (Hon) is Head of Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project and Professor of Law and Constitutional Government, University of Oxford.

How to solve Rishi’s Rwanda dilemma

Rishi Sunak has promised to respond to the Supreme Court’s judgment that the Rwanda policy is unlawful by agreeing a new treaty with Rwanda and introducing fast-track legislation to parliament. This has been widely ridiculed, as if the proposal were for parliament simply to ignore findings of fact made by the Supreme Court or, worse, for parliament to authorise

In memory of Lord Brown

The death of Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood means that Britain has lost a great jurist – but also, unusually in this era, a formidable parliamentarian as well. He was a modest, unassuming man (few non-lawyers will know his name), yet he made a remarkable contribution to the law and government of this country, embodying the best

Will Rishi Sunak’s Channel migrant crackdown work?

The government’s inability to control our maritime border is a public scandal. Bold action is needed to make crossing the Channel pointless and put the people smugglers out of business. This will be impossible without major legal reform. So it is good news that the government is about to introduce new legislation to Parliament.  The government’s Rwanda plan

How Britain can speed up sanctions against the oligarchs

In contrast to its leadership in relation to economic sanctions against the Russian state, the UK has been much too slow in imposing sanctions on named Russian oligarchs and officials. The problem is not a lack of political will. Ministers have found it very difficult to swiftly impose sanctions on Russian nationals because of the

What went wrong with policing at Tory conference?

Events in Birmingham this week reveal a crisis in the policing of public protest. It was no surprise that protestors would make their views loudly known outside the Conservative party conference. In exercising their rights to assemble and to speak, protestors play an important role in a democracy. But some of those attending the conference,

It’s time to take back control from our judges

The Judicial Review and Courts Bill has its second reading today. Writing for the Guardian yesterday, David Davis MP denounced the government’s plans as ‘an obvious attempt to avoid accountability [and] to consolidate power’ which is ‘profoundly un-conservative’. He could not be more wrong. The Bill is a welcome first step in restoring the balance

The law is not fit to stop Extinction Rebellion’s street protests

Extinction Rebellion (XR) are once again blocking London’s streets, reportedly emboldened by the Supreme Court’s recent Ziegler decision – which found that deliberately blocking roads can be lawful protest. The police maintain that the judgment does not substantially change the law and that XR, like everyone else, has a right to assemble and protest but

It’s time to rein in the Supreme Court

The return of lockdown measures across parts of northern England, as well as the announcement of dozens of new peerages, almost entirely overshadowed the Lord Chancellor’s launch on Friday of an independent review of administrative law. Lord Faulks QC, former minister of state for justice, is to lead five other barristers and academic lawyers in examining

Why Shamima Begum should not have been allowed to return

It is startling to see the Court of Appeal take over the Home Secretary’s responsibility in deciding who should be allowed to enter the UK – judging for itself the relative importance of national security considerations. But this is what the Court did in its judgment today, by opening the door for Shamima Begum to return

How the crackdown on terrorists can avoid the Human Rights Act trap

Some human rights lawyers have warned that emergency legislation to prevent automatic early release of convicted terrorists – confirmed by Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions today – may be unlawful and will be challenged in the courts. But the warning should not deter Parliament from enacting this legislation. It is for Parliament, not the

Judgment day: the danger of courts taking over politics

Who runs Britain? When Boris Johnson’s lawyers made their case in front of the Supreme Court this week, defending his right to prorogue parliament, they in effect brought it back to this simple question. This was a controversy for politicians to settle, not courts. Judges, they said, should think twice about ‘entering the political arena’

Do our Supreme Court judges have too much power?

In our tradition, courts do not and should not stand in judgment over parliament. It is for parliament, in conversation with the people, to choose what the law should be and the duty of courts is to uphold those choices. In the years before the UK decided to leave the EU, some judges reasoned that

The High Court’s ‘right to rent’ decision is a travesty

The political campaign against the UK’s immigration laws secured an important victory yesterday, with the High Court denouncing sections 20-37 of the Immigration Act 2014 as racially discriminatory – not by discriminatory intent or design but “indirectly”, by side effect. Those “right to rent” provisions make it unlawful for private landlords to rent property to

Why Brexit won’t lead to a bonfire of human rights

Faced with the prospect of the UK’s departure from the EU, some Britons are contemplating urgent measures, whether applying for an Irish passport or migrating to New Zealand. Nothing wrong with either, of course, but the latter is an odd reaction. After all, one of the implications of Brexit is that it restores the fundamental

The panic about a Brexit legal limbo isn’t justified

In widely reported remarks earlier this week, Lord Neuberger, the outgoing President of the Supreme Court, called for Parliament to tell our judges very clearly how rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) are to be dealt with after Brexit. Lord Neuberger’s concern is to avoid judges being left without guidance,

Only Parliament can decide the law on assisted dying

The question of whether assisted suicide should be legalised is back before the courts. The High Court this week is being invited to declare that the Suicide Act 1961, which prohibits assisted suicide, is incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which protects the right to respect for private life.  Whatever