by MONITOR
WHATEVER else a decade of Labour rule may or may not have achieved it has certainly led to more encounters between the executive and judiciary than has been seen for a long time. Many of these have been on matters arising from anti-terrorist legislation of a kind never thought necessary in the past. Others have arisen from a tendency of the Blair administration to cut legal corners in the belief that its three election victories justified it in doing so. One such case was the suspension by Mr Blair of the inquiry by the Serious Fraud Office into allegations of corruption in the BAE Systems contract to provide military aircraft to Saudi Arabia. The justification for this arbitrary action was that if the inquiry continued it would affect national security because the Saudi government had said it might withdraw cooperation in sharing intelligence on terrorists. Last week the High Court in London agreed that the Serious Fraud Office should be allowed to appeal against the Court's earlier judgement that it had been wrong to stop the inquiry -- a judgement that was based on the belief that the British government had been threatened by the Saudis. This means that the House of Lords, the highest court in the land, will be asked to resolve an issue of fundamental importance, going to the very roots of how the country is governed and to its constitutional principles.