In 2010 Lord Bingham – one of our great jurists – published an important work. In it he sets out what have quickly become known among lawyers as “Bingham’s eight principles” – the key ingredients of the rule of law.
Topping Bingham’s list is the requirement for the law to be accessible, intelligible, clear and predictable.
When the law is failing to meet these criteria, it should be revised.
It is worth bearing this in mind when examining the law surrounding abortion on the grounds of gender selection.
In my view, the Government is correct when it says: “Abortion on the grounds of gender alone is illegal.”
However, the former Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer was also correct when he said: “The law does not in terms expressly prohibit gender-specific abortions.”
And the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) was arguably also correct when it said: “The Act does not prohibit a doctor from authorising an abortion where a woman has referenced the sex of her foetus.”