Latest Issue

Why Sumption-sceptics should look again

The former Supreme Court judge turned lockdown critic has some sharp words on government overreach

By Alex Dean   April 2021
Jonathan Sumption in his Supreme Court Chambers in 2012 (Bobbo's Pix / Alamy Stock Photo)

Jonathan Sumption in his Supreme Court Chambers in 2012 (Bobbo's Pix / Alamy Stock Photo)

Jonathan Sumption has had a controversial 12 months even by his standards. The former Supreme Court judge’s condemnation of Covid-19 restrictions has scandalised the scientific community—and sometimes the public. In a recent television appearance, he told a cancer patient that her life was “less valuable” than other people’s.

So I opened his new book with a sense of trepidation, prepared for reams of armchair epidemiology. But in this collection of 12 essays, not new but updated for our times, we see Sumption back at his most interesting, cantering over law, history, politics and the constitution with all the…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect