An Open Letter to the Foreign Secretary and the Minister of Justice

Dear Messrs Hague and Grayling

The recent developments in Brunei where the Sultan is introducing a harsh Islamic judicial code have been widely reported, by the BBC among others, and have produced protests world-wide.

It is little known by the general public that the highest Court in the Brunei court system actually sits in London, and is part of the UK judiciary.

It is noteworthy that, originating in Britain’s Imperial past, the jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to hear appeals from Brunei has been continuous since then. Brunei-originating cases, once addressed to Her Majesty-in-Council, are now heard by the Privy Council in the name of the Sultan of Brunei.

I feel that the UK must respect European international norms regarding fundamental rights.

The death penalty is inappropriate in all circumstances. To prescribe a penalty of death simply for being gay or for adultery is, in my opinion, (and, I am sure, in the minds of the overwhelming majority of British people) disproportionate in the ultimate extreme.

It  seem very strange for the Privy Council to continue to hear cases from a country that has now developed in a manner that is so far removed from our own 21st Century standards of fair treatment.

I think this needs to change. I therefore call upon the British Government to take action, and to abrogate the agreement whereby a British Court continues its role the highest court in the land of Brunei.


Nigel Roberts LLB, FBCS, 6th May 2014

For further information: telephone Nigel Roberts on 020 7100 4319

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