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Who Guards the Guards?


Lawyers love their Latin!  Never has this question been more pertinent than now. The concept of keeping an eye on those who wield the power in society was beautifully summed up by Lord Justice Toulson in the case of Guardian News Media Ltd v City of Westminster Magistrate’s Court. The answer is – the courts themselves, as he stated:


“Open justice. The words express a principle at the heart of our system of justice and vital to the rule of law. The rule of law is a fine concept but fine words butter no parsnips. How is the rule of law itself to be policed? It is an age old question. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes—who will guard the guards themselves? In a democracy, where power depends on the consent of the people governed, the answer must lie in the transparency of the legal process. Open justice lets in the light and allows the public to scrutinise the workings of the law, for better or for worse. Jeremy Bentham said in a well known passage quoted by Lord Shaw of Dunfermline in Scott v Scott: ‘Publicity is the very soul of justice. It is the keenest spur to exertion and the surest of all guards against improbity. It keeps the judge himself while trying under trial.”


Certain cases have highlighted this as a relevant and fundamental question today. This design specially created by Merlin Orr features the Knights of the Tarot as representing ‘the guards’ and the need for vigilance expressed in Latin above, and is just one of the designs available in our shop. Each sale helps us to provide services to those who cannot afford to pay to access justice. 


100% Cotton - Classic fit that runs true to size - Tear away label

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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