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Based on the 55th series of the Hamlyn Lectures presented by the Honourable Justice Michael Kirby in November 2003, the issue of "Judicial Activism" is a live one in most countries of the common law. The accusation that judges have exceeded their proper function is often made by politicians, media commentators and even some lawyers. The accusers allege that judges should stick to applying the law - they should not make it.
The slightest familiarity with current and recent debates over judicial decisions in Australia, Canada, India and the United States shows that "judicial activism" is a topic that lawyers need to address seriously. In these lectures, Justice Kirby explores many cases including Bush v Gore and Lawrence v Texas from the United States. /
In examining the judicial method in a topical context, Justice Kirby suggests that the debate over judicial activism has so far largely passed the judiciary of the United Kingdom by. However, he points out that recent developments make it unlikely that this state of affairs will persist.
The developments he mentions include:-