Frasi di Alfred Denning, Baron Denning

Alfred Denning, Baron Denning photo
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Alfred Denning, Baron Denning

Data di nascita: 23. Gennaio 1899
Data di morte: 5. Marzo 1999

Alfred Thompson “Tom” Denning, Baron Denning, was an English lawyer and judge. He was called to the bar of England and Wales in 1923, and became a King's Counsel in 1938. Denning became a judge in 1944 with an appointment to the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice, and transferred to the King's Bench Division in 1945. He was made a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1948 after less than five years in the High Court. He became a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in 1957 and after five years in the House of Lords returned to the Court of Appeal as Master of the Rolls in 1962, a position he held for twenty years. In retirement he wrote several books and continued to offer opinions on the state of the common law through his writing and his position in the House of Lords.

Margaret Thatcher said that Denning was “probably the greatest English judge of modern times”. Mark Garnett and Richard Weight argue that he was a conservative Christian who "remained popular with morally conservative Britons who were dismayed at the postwar rise in crime and who, like him, believed that the duties of the individual were being forgotten in the clamour for rights. He had a more punitive than redemptive view of criminal justice, as a result of which he was a vocal supporter of corporal and capital punishment." Though he changed his stance on capital punishment in later life.

Denning was one of the most publicly known judges thanks to his report on the Profumo affair. He was noted for his bold judgments running counter to the law at the time. During his 38-year career as a judge he made large changes to the common law, particularly while in the Court of Appeal, and although many of his decisions were overturned by the House of Lords several of them were confirmed by Parliament, which passed statutes in line with his judgments. Although appreciated for his role as 'the people's judge' and his support for the individual, Denning was also controversial for his campaign against the common law principle of precedent, and for comments he made regarding the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four, and also as Master of the Rolls for his conflict with the House of Lords.

Frasi Alfred Denning, Baron Denning

„In summertime village cricket is a delight to everyone. Nearly every village has its own cricket field where the young men play and the old men watch. In the village of Lintz in the County of Durham they have their own ground, where they have played these last 70 years. They tend it well. The wicket area is well rolled and mown. The outfield is kept short. It has a good clubhouse for the players and seats for the onlookers. The village team plays there on Saturdays and Sundays. They belong to a league, competing with the neighbouring villages. On other evenings they practice while the light lasts. Yet now after these 70 years a judge of the High Court has ordered that they must not play anymore. He has issued an injunction to stop them. He has done it at the instance of a newcomer who is no lover of cricket. This newcomer has built, or has had built for him, a house on the edge of the cricket ground which four years ago was a field where cattle grazed. The animals did not mind the cricket, but now this adjoining field has been turned into a housing estate. The newcomer bought one of the houses on the edge of the cricket field. No doubt the open space was a selling point. Now he complains that when a batsman hits a six the ball has been known to land in his garden or on or near his house. His wife has got so upset about it that they always go out at weekends. They do not go into the garden when cricket is being played. They say that this is intolerable. So they asked the judge to stop the cricket being played. And the judge, much against his will, has felt that he must order the cricket to be stopped: with the consequence, I suppose, that the Lintz Cricket Club will disappear. The cricket ground will be turned to some other use. I expect for houses or a factory. The young men will turn to other things instead of cricket. The whole village will be much poorer. And all this because of a newcomer who has just bought a house there next to the cricket ground.“

—  Alfred Denning, Baron Denning

Miller v. Jackson [1977] QB 966 at 976.
Judgments

„To some this may appear to be a small matter, but to Mr. Harry Hook, it is very important. He is a street trader in the Barnsley Market. He has been trading there for some six years without any complaint being made against him; but, nevertheless, he has now been banned from trading in the market for life. All because of a trifling incident. On Wednesday, October 16, 1974, the market was closed at 5:30. So were all the lavatories, or 'toilets' as they are now called. They were locked up. Three quarters of an hour later, at 6:20, Harry Hook had an urgent call of nature. He wanted to relieve himself. He went into a side street near the market and there made water, or 'urinated' as it is now said. No one was about except one or two employees of the council, who were cleaning up. They rebuked him. He said: 'I can do it here if I like'. They reported him to a security officer who came up. The security officer reprimanded Harry Hook. We are not told the words used by the security officer. I expect they were in language which street traders understand. Harry Hook made an appropriate reply. Again, we are not told the actual words, but it is not difficult to guess. I expect it was an emphatic version of 'You be off'. At any rate, the security officer described them as words of abuse. Touchstone would say that the security officer gave the 'reproof valiant' and Harry Hook gave the 'counter-check quarrelsome'; As You Like It, Act V, Scene IV. On Thursday morning the security officer reported the incident. The market manager thought it was a serious matter. So he saw Mr. Hook the next day, Friday, October 18. Mr. Hook admitted it and said he was sorry for what had happened. The market manager was not satisfied to leave it there. He reported the incident to the chairman of the amenity services committee of the Council. He says that the chairman agreed that 'staff should be protected from such abuse.“

—  Alfred Denning, Baron Denning

That very day the market manager wrote a letter to Mr. Hook, banning him from trading in the market.
Ex Parte Hook [1976] 1 WLR 1052 at 1055.
Judgments

„The statute in section 3(1) contains a definition of a “racial group”. It means a “group of persons defined by reference to colour, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins.” That definition is very carefully framed. Most interesting is that it does not include religion or politics or culture. You can discriminate for or against Roman Catholics as much as you like without being in breach of the law. You can discriminate for or against Communists as much as you please, without being in breach of the law. You can discriminate for or against the “hippies” as much as you like, without being in breach of the law. But you must not discriminate against a man because of his colour or of his race or of his nationality, or of “his ethnic or national origins.” … You must remember that it is perfectly lawful to discriminate against groups of people to whom you object - so long as they are not a racial group. You can discriminate against the Moonies or the Skinheads or any other group which you dislike or to which you take objection. No matter whether your objection to them is reasonable or unreasonable, you can discriminate against them - without being in breach of the law.’}}“

—  Alfred Denning, Baron Denning

Denning judged in the Court of Appeal at the time, and held that Sikhs were not a racial or ethnic group. His ruling was overturned in the House of Lords, notably by Ian Fraser, Baron Fraser of Tullybelton, who outlined seven points by which ethno-religious groups were to be defined.
Judgments

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