Relations Between Branches (Supreme Court (Highest court of appeal in the…
Relations Between Branches
the state of being subject only to laws established for the good of the community, especially with regard to freedom of action and speech.
Judges can ensure all citizens receive a fair trial and equal treatment under the law
US vs UK supreme court
Judges have greater political significance due to the codified constitution. They can determine the powers and responsibilities of the presidency and congress
Justices of the Supreme Court are nominated by the President and confirmed by the senate, whereas the UK is more neutral
US judges have no compulsory retirement age
Since the 1970s, republican presidents have made the courts more conservative, which has resulted in a restoration of capital punishment and restrictions on abortion
The Rule of Law
Equality before the law
everyone should be allowed access to the same legal rights and the legal system. Considerations such as wealth, religion, gender and ethnicity must be irrelevant to how people are treated by the system
The law is always applied
disputes must be resolved by the application of law, and not by any other means
No one is above the law.
Law even applies to ministers and public officials and ensures they do not exploit their powers
Legal redress is available through the courts
If peoples rights have infringed they should be able to protect themselves through the law. Law should defend fundamental human rights
- MacPherson Inquiry
studied whether the police service had been incompetent during the inquiry after the death of Stephen Lawrence
- Hutton Inquiry
following the suicide of David Kelly over questions about the Iraq War (2003)
looked into allegations that the UK intelligence services were complicit in the torture of detainees (2010)
- Leveson inquiry
into phone hacking (2012)
Judges are sometimes called upon to conduct public inquiries into matters of widespread public concern, as they can view it neutrally and independently
In 2013 there were 15,000 requests for judicial reviews
Highest court of appeal in the UK, opened in October 2009.
Cases must have already gone through other parts of the legal system before reaching the Supreme Court. They are simply an appeal court - they do not hear witnesses, just tell the law.
Used to be in the House of Commons, but was moved to a separate location to establish a divide between those who make laws and those who implement them
The Supreme Court is very accessible, always open to visitors, offering a public gallery and conducts regular tours
Example Supreme Court case: PJS vs News Group Newspaper. First case where the Supreme Court ruled on an issue related to privacy and freedom of speech. They placed privacy above the public's right to knowledge
Role of Judges
Interpret and apply law.
Interpret the statutes laid down by Parliament, often able to exercise a measure of discretion
Judges used to have free reign over which sentences to hand out but this has been reduced due to the wider use of minimum/mandatory sentences
Preside over court procedures.
Makes sure the rules of court and followed by both sides, acting rather like an umpire. Act as a source of specialist knowledge.
Chair Public Inquiries and Commissions
Judges are chosen for this role due to their reputation of being impartial and independent
Power of Judges
Not Powerful Enough
Well educated in the field
Uphold the rule of law
Theoretically non-biased, neutral and not influence by public opinion
They ensure government and public bodies operate within the law and do not abuse power
Out of touch, generally Oxbridge educated
Fairly old (they
to retire by 70
Sometimes challenge Parliamentary sovereignty, for example when upholding EU law
Not elected and therefore not accountable
The principal that judges should not be influenced by their personal political opinions and should remain outside of party politics.
The principle that judges should not be influenced by other branches of government, particularly the executive
Ministers are incapable of removing judges unless there is a scandal regarding them.
Form of the Judiciary:
Magistrates court (hears less serious cases) or tribunal (hears appeals on immigration, social security etc.)
Crown Court (hold jury trials and carry out sentencing) or county court (hears civil cases, such as compensation for injury)
The High Court
The Court of Appeal
UK Supreme Court
when a judge declares an important point of law, the declaration should be followed by all other judges in similar cases.
Relations with Europe
The single market has promoted trade and investment and has over 500 million consumers
Increased political union has delivered coordinated action on cross-borer issues such as immigration
Extended citizens rights, such as the ability the live and work in other EU nations.
It has not been able to resolve major challenges such as the migration crisis
The UK feels that the EU takes away from parliamentary sovereignty as some laws are made in the Brussels courts
The UK pays in more for membership than we receive (we are the second highest payer). Eg. In 2015 we paid in £18 billion but only got £9.4 billion