By Ray Fleming

DAVID Cameron sounded like a trade unionist threatening to work to rule when he said his government will do “the minimum necessary” to comply with the ruling of Britain's Supreme Court that those convicted of sex crimes should have the right to appeal against being listed for life on the register of sex offenders used by the police and some other official organisations. The Daily Mail said the prime minister had “declared war on unelected judges” and in the House of Commons the Home Secretary, Theresa May, said that “It is time to assert that Parliament makes our laws, not the courts”. Mrs May knows perfectly well that it is the job of the Law Courts to interpret the laws passed by Parliament when they are challenged. And it would be interesting to learn from Mr Cameron or the Daily Mail when it was that judges in Britain were elected.

Like votes for prisoners, the Supreme Court's judgement on the sex offenders register has its roots in a European Court of Human Rights ruling but a law which can result in a boy who committed rape at the age of eleven being on the register for the rest of his life seems in the need of reform. The Supreme Court judgement did no more than propose a very limited right of appeal against such listings 15 years after a sentence has been served. Why the fuss?