Kilmuir Rules

1955 Lord Kilmuir established the principle that judges should keep out of the media.

every utterance which [a judge] makes in public, except in the course of the actual performance of his judicial duties, must necessarily bring him within the scope of criticism. It would moreover, be inappropriate for the Judiciary to be associated with any series of talks or anything which could be fairly interpreted as entertainment…

The rationale of the Kilmuir Rules was to protect judicial independence, one of the cardinal principles of our constitutional system. Yet one might justifiably take the view that judicial independence is not the same as judicial aloofness, and thus the Kilmuir rules were abandoned by Lord Mackay LC in 1987, ironically on the basis that such rules were inconsistent with judicial independence. The view from the woolsack at that time was that judges needed to be able to decide for themselves when it was appropriate to speak out.