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Letters

Democracy’s foundations

David Neuberger makes a powerful argument (“Learn the rule of law,” January/February) that judicial independence and access to courts matter, and he rightly warns that they are under threat.

The rule of law is not something which sits alongside democracy: it is constitutive of it, because otherwise there is no way that the laws that elected legislators make can be upheld. We can be complacent about these things in Britain. But the Daily Mail’s infamous “Enemies of the People” headline (accompanied by mugshots of the judges) during the Gina Miller Article 50 case, had historical precedents of the most sinister kind.

When civil legal aid was cut, and court and tribunal fees were raised and the freedom to bring judicial reviews was undermined between 2012 and 2014, it was clear from the government’s language that the intention was to discourage recourse to courts. Where accountability through law stops, authoritarianism starts. And democracy ends. Helen Mountfield, Matrix Chambers

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s March issue: Gaby Hinsliff explains why all sides of the Brexit debate feel like they’re losing. She says that the Brexit war has raged on for two and half years and disfigured British politics in the process, leaving Remainers in mourning and Leavers crying betrayal. Elsewhere in the issue: James Ball, Martin Moore and Barbara Speed examine how we should be less worried about the tech giants Facebook, Amazon and Google and more worried about the data they hold about us. Ball argues that breaking up these huge companies isn’t the answer; Moore asks what would happens when a tech giant wants to run a smart city, and Speed looks at the increasing trend of tracking everything in our daily lives from the amount of water we drink to how many notifications we receive to our smartphone. Also, Rachel Sylvester profiles Sajid Javid, the Cabinet minister positioning himself for the top job.