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.”
4 thoughts on “Chapple On Cooke”
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
That would depend on which “rights” he was referring to anon. Do you have any more specifics.
It’s also a bit like the Council on Civil Liberties. They’re a bunch of commies, but they do make the odd principled stand.
Nobody’s wrong all the time.
Have to disagree Trev.
I think an element of judicial activism is essential to the maintenance of basic freedoms.
In Lord Cooke’s decision in Taylor v New Zealand Poultry Board he commented that some rights may be so fundamental that even Parliament could not abrogate them.
I find such comments comforting in a country where Parliament is supreme and answers to no one. I hope that if Helen’s lot did try to remove from us our basic freedoms- and lets be honest, who would be that shocked if they did?- that the judiciary would be prepared to give them the middle finger and refuse to apply the law.
And as for Plato, every time I see pictures on the news of an NDU picket line I cant help but thinking there may have been some truth to his comment that people are too stupid for democracy (attributed to Socrates)
Spot on Trevor Loudon! Cooke helped sever ties with the Privy Council, clearing the way for the left wing, activist judiciary led by Sian E. to try to hijack the country.