Who guards the guards?

OldRuin was in chambers today and talking to HeadClerk about police powers. “It’s the age old problem,” he said. “It’s all very well having an independent police force but then who guards the guards?”
“We do. The people,” said HeadClerk. “You know, through Parliament.”
“You’re right, of course,” answered OldRuin. “But who guards them?”
“Well, the judges do, I suppose,” said HeadClerk. “But now you’re going to ask me who guards them, I suppose?”
“It had crossed my mind.”
“Well, it’s the barristers who guard the judges against the worst of their excesses. Expose their weaknesses. ‘Steer them away from the folly of their instincts’ as HeadofChambers always likes to put it.”
“I see. So it’s the bar who actually guards the guards?”
“Well, yes, I suppose it is.”
OldRuin hesitated for effect and then asked, “And who would you say guards them?”
Suddenly HeadClerk beamed as he realised where OldRuin had gently led the conversation.
“Why it’s the clerks of course. You’re absolutely right OldRuin. I hadn’t thought of it like that before. Through a long and convoluted network of checks and balances it’s ultimately the barrister’s clerk who guards our democratic freedoms.”
“Quite so,” smiled OldRuin.

December 8, 2015 · Tim Kevan · 5 Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Uncategorized

5 Responses

  1. LawLibrarian - December 4, 2008


  2. Oliver Chettle - December 8, 2008

    For the last ten years, no one has been guarding our democratic freedoms.

  3. John Flood - May 28, 2010

    Of course! It makes perfect sense….and it’s TRUE.

  4. Emily - June 2, 2010

    For the last ten years, no one has been guarding our democratic freedoms.

  5. Gere Unger - June 9, 2010

    I fear in the U.S.a leadership that is incompetent, mentally undeveloped,devoid of character,and relying on self serving platitudes has given way to a sense of entitlement and absolutism. Where even the postulates of democracy are routinely denied by the forth estate and judicial activism.