When Lord Cooke of Thorndon recently died, eulogies flowed from manty quarters.
According to Wikipedia Lord Cooke was a member of the British House of Lords. Prior to reaching the age of 75 he was a Lord of Appeal and a member of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. He is widely considered New Zealand’s greatest jurist
Reuben Chapple judges things differently. Reuben Chapple is a champion of property rights and genuine human rights so he is far less impressed with Lord Cooke’s contribution to NZ law.
“The eulogy delivered by Chief Justice Sian Elias at the recent funeral of Lord Cooke of Thorndon betrays the alarming fact that she entirely supports Lord Cooke’s socialist and revisionist approach to the law. Like his English legal mentor, Lord Denning, Lord Cooke was a judicial activist: a judge who interprets the law not according to law and precedent, but according to his own political opinions.
In a 1987 case involving the New Zealand Maori Council, Lord Cooke used the fact that a number of laws referred to “the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi” without defining them in statute to foist on us the egregious notion that the Treaty was actually a “partnership” between races. This not only displays a lamentable ignorance of New Zealand history, but amounts to a judicial usurpation of executive power.
Lord Cooke’s proper course of action would have been to decline to “legislate” in this area and refer the matter back to Parliament for clarification. Or if he was so keen so to make laws, Lord Cooke should have resigned from the bench and stood for Parliament himself.
Lord Cooke’s view of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights as “the most important document in legal history” is similarly disturbing. Modelled almost word-for-word on the constitution of the former USSR, the Declaration is full of high-sounding phrases which on superficial examination appear to reflect our noblest aspirations. However in practice, each so-called “inalienable” right is subject to the limitation “except as provided by law” or words to that effect. Our “rights” under the Universal Declaration therefore amount to whatever a self-anointed global elite of socialist politicians and their judicial enablers say they are at the time.
This underlying ethos of all “progressive” (i.e. socialist) thought dates back to Ancient Greece and Plato’s Republic. Plato proposed that mankind is essentially stupid and wicked. However, a few individuals are better, wiser and kinder than their fellow men. Such individuals have a right, and indeed a duty, to ascend to power and nobly order everyone else around for their own good.
Far from being “deeply committed to human rights,” Lord Cooke was actually a socialist who saw himself as part of a global governing elite.”