Revision - Judiciary (Legislative accountability
Revision - Judiciary
Members of the judiciary have chaired public inquiries:
- Appear impartial, analytical, well-versed in the law.
- But it is impossible to depoliticise political issues.
- They know the law, but don't have the technical / political knowledge (Beatson, 2004). i.e. Grenfell.
- Public and press pre-judge inquiries (Sulitzeanu-Kenan 2006). If what they want to hear isn't said, the judiciary is discredited.
- Impartiality can be compromised by inquiry work.
- Developed organically, governed by convention.
- Applies to all powers governed by statute.
- Retrospective or prospective.
- Applies to public and private bodies providing public services.
- Looks at processes, rule following, not outcomes.
- Common law criteria: legality, authority, rationality, consistency, human rights.
- Interest in judicial review grew during Conservative government 1979-1997.
- Often used to stop radical governments doing what they want.
- EU membership required review of legality of UK law under EU law.
- HRA introduced new scope for review.
- Left moved from seeing judiciary as block on progress, stopping radical left, to guardian of progress.
- R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the EU (2016).
"judges, like everyone else, are political beings who operate in a political world" (Woodhouse, 2004).
- Appointed on account of their merit, independence and diversity.
Forms of accountability:
- Administrative: use of money, fair treatment of staff.
- Professionalism: appropriate standards, sufficient knowledge of law and relation to general population.
- Explanatory: reasoning of decisions, why they rule what they rule.
- Sacrificial: who resigns after a fault? who calls for resignation? can a judge be forced to resign?
- SC is a non-ministerial department associated with Ministry of Justice.
- Administrative responsibility rests with Chief Executive, who is a civil servant.
- They are responsible to parliament for spending and to the Head of the Civil Service for people management.
- Parliament can limit judicial spending.
- Senior judges oversee junior judges.
Lower court decisions can be appealed to higher courts (i.e. Gina Miller).
- Criminal Cases Review Commission refers settled judgements back for appeal.
- UK residents appeal to ECtHR on human rights matters.
- SC can re-visit its own judgements. Not bound by precedent.
- Judicial Complaints Investigations Office manages complaints against individual judges.
- Lord Chancellor (politician) & Lord Chief Justice (judge) must agree on sanctions.
- Judges hear evidence and give verdicts to public.
- They could do more to explain their decision-making process (Ewing, 2011).
- Judges give lectures, write articles, appear at select committees.
- Judges cannot be impartial and independent if they can be forced to resign because of unpopular judgements.
- This is the weakest form of judicial accountability.