I have no doubt that anyone who is capable of being a good Secretary of State will have the energy and intellect to understand basic ethics and learn about the requirements of the rule of law. However, that person would be at a disadvantage because he would have to learn about it, whereas it was second nature for Lord Irvine, Lord Mackay and Lord Falconer. I am decrying not the intellectual abilities of a non-legal Lord Chancellor, but the downgrading of the office and the growing distance between the two institutions.
A consequence of the situation will be the increasing importance of the Attorney-General as the defender of the law's institutions in Parliament. Although I disagree with the current Attorney-General's politics, he is an extremely fine lawyer. Perhaps because he sits in the House of Lords, he has had the time to appear as the Government's chief advocate in the courts.