Focus upon the idea of law enforcement and statutory interpretation. Link the judiciary to the concept of the rule of law and thus to the constitutional importance of an independent judiciary in a modern liberal democracy
Role – law enforcement, statutory interpretation, legality of government decisions, application of EU and HRA, protect citizens rights and liberties and potential for involvement in political process (note reduced by creation of Supreme Court however some judges will still seek to make political points especially with regard to political interference in judicial decision making). Consider issues of relative importance between the above factors.
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Courts can only highlight incompatibility in new and existing legislation but this usually enough to force change in policy (see Belmarsh detainees), however parliament can derogate as in case of extending detention to 28 day (potentially 42).
EU legislation – now determined in UK courts although can be appealed to ECJ in Luxembourg.
Judicial Neutrality and Independence
Separation of Powers – basis of concept and importance of within a modern democracy. Note traditional fusion but changes under CRA (decoupling Lord Chancellor, creation of Supreme Court and Independent Appointments Commission).
Extent of judicial independence – increasing independence of appointments (Appointments Commission now appoints lower ranks with Minister of Justice/PM vetoing higher ranks. Appointment of members of the Supreme Court by a selected commission composed of President and Deputy President of SC and a member of judicial appointment bodies), statutory right of independence, security of tenure and independent pay review body (note also judiciary jealousy guard own independence from political interference – Reid and sentencing guidelines). However Parliamentary sovereignty can overrule the rule of law and judiciary primary role is still statutory interpretation.
Neutrality – allegations of activism suggesting judiciary promote natural justice above letter of the law. Consider narrow social background in relation to white, male middle class justice (note proportions of female and ethnic judges)
Rights Liberties and Duties in the UK
Civil rights – entitlements protected by the state; civil liberties – individual freedoms recognised and protected by the state; civic duties – obligations a citizen owes to a state. Note examples of each of the above and the balance required between civil rights, liberties and duties. Consider also attempts by New Labour to extend rights and liberties (HRA, FOI, Equality and anti-discrimination legislation). Note also emphasis upon citizenship duties – active...