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Lord Charles Russell
1832 - 1900

Russell of Killowen, Lord Chief Justice of Britain, Irish-born lawyer, Liberal Member of Parliament and Attorney-General in William Gladstone's government


Judges and courts are alike open to criticism, and if reasonable argument or expostulation is offered against any judicial act as contrary to law or the public good, no court could or would treat it as contempt of court.

1900 - from Regina v Gray
If [laws] were found to be partial and unequal in their operation as between different classes; if they were manifestly unjust; if they disclosed bad faith; if they involved such oppressive or gratuitous interference with the rights of those subject to them as could find no justification in the minds of reasonable men, the Court might well say, "Parliament never intended to give authority to make such rules; they are unreasonable and ultra vires."

1898 - an often-cited distinction of "reasonableness" of democratic laws, from his judgement in Kruse v Johnson
A byelaw is not unreasonable merely because particular judges may think that it goes further than is prudent or necessary or convenient, or because it is not accompanied by a qualification or an exception which some judges may think ought to be there. Surely it is not too much to say that in matters which directly and mainly concern the people of the county, who have the right to choose those whom they think best fitted to represent them in their local government bodies, such representatives may be trusted to understand their own requirements better than judges.

1898 - from his judgement in Kruse v Johnson