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Politics AS Level

The Judiciary

Who are the judiciary? Branch of Government responsible for upholding the law, this includes judges and courts who interpret and carry out law
What do judges do? - Ensure that laws are constitutional - Interpret what laws mean - Resolve disputes - Chair enquiries i.e Hutton Enquiry - Might have been Law Lords - Review gvmt's decisions
Why has the role of the judiciary increased? - expanding role of gvmt - greater complexity in gvmt affairs - greater focus on rule of law and human rights - greater culture of litigation
What did the judicial system look like a decade ago? -previous system had lord chancellor/home secretary the same thing - Law Lords in the house of Lords were the highest court in the country
What does the judicial system look like after these reforms? - Supreme Court established 2009, replaced the Law Lords - Ministry of Justice established - Lord Chancellor role purely ceremonial
What are the key elements of the legal system? - Clear court structure - Seperation of civil and criminal cases - Civil- County Court, High Court, Court of Appeal - Criminal- Magistrates Court, Crown Court, Court of Appeal - Supreme Court
How are the judiciary independent? - Selected on merit, by the Judicial Appointments Commission from 2005 - security of tenure - political neutrality - member of law society - fixed salaries paid out of consolidated fund
How are the judiciary not independent? - selection still officialy signed off by the PM - media can still pass judgement on their decisions, criticise - may still hold private political opinions
What sort of people are judges? Same problems as MPs and civil servants, seen to be underrepresentative and elitist. Male, white, and elderly. When SC opened, 10/11 went to Oxbridge and were male, and 9/11 public school
Why has there been a growth in judicial activism? - Judges are taking an active role as interpreters of the constitution - Judges are expected to be impartial - Less clear-cut seperation from the government - Caught up in other political issues, i.e chairing enquiries - HRA 1998 gave further power
Reasons why judges have become too powerful - They are unelected, no mandate - Parliament should protect liberties - Lack accountability - Not representative - Should not rely on judiciary to make difficut decisions
Reasons why judges are not too powerful - They have the expertise, are held to high standards - part of checks and balances - Independent so can make difficult decisions - Protect our rights and freedoms
Impact on EU Convention and the HRA on the judiciary - Judiciary have a greater say in legality of laws - Have to declare if they are compatible - Interpret laws - Often the gvmt lost out- i.e prisoners' rights and corporal punishment - Judicial review cases against the gvmt
Created by: bethysav