The Judiciary

How do the courts protect our rights and freedoms?

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Thanks to the 2005 Constitutional Reform Act, the judiciary is officially independent of Parliament (the legislature). The Lord Chancellor no longer sits on a giant sack of wool in the House of Lords, in fact his powers have completely changed. The Act transferred his powers to the President of the Courts of England and Wales, the Lord Chief Justice. The Act also established a new UK Supreme Court separate from the House of Lords with its own President.

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Suggested clause: 'Public prosecutors must be independent of the judiciary and the police and other law enforcement agencies.'  

Ian Smith
by Ian Smith
17 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 12
Ian Smith

Suggested clause: ' Juries in court proceedings must be: - randomly selected  - Independent of the other participants in the court proceedings before them - Free from interference - Required to keep their deliberations confidential '

Ian Smith
by Ian Smith
15 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 21
Ian Smith

Suggested clause: All courts should operate a full five day week, year round, with the exception of normal public holidays. Original wording: At present courts sit in sessions which in total amounts to about half a year. This is not justice. The courts needs to function on at least a five day week throughout the year with the exception of normal public holidays. No one should be left on remand because the courts are not in sessionnor is it good use of court facilities to be left unused...

Ian Hodgson
by Ian Hodgson
3 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 10
Ian Hodgson

The constitution should enshrine the right to trial by jury for offences which are punished only by a prison sentence.

James Doran
by James Doran
14 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 22
James Doran

ALL citizens to have equal access to justice through a "National Justice Service" (NJS) , free at the point of need and paid for through general taxation i.e along the same founding principles as the NHS. A National Justice Service (NJS) would help to develop a far more equal and just society, where the ability to seek and obtain justice via access to solicitors, barristers and the courts would be available to ALL citizens, and not just restricted as it currently is to those citizens...

C Chapman
by C Chapman
5 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 20
C Chapman

Suggested clause: 'The common law shall continue to have effect when this constitution comes into force but in the case of any conflict between (a) the Constitution and/or ordinary statutes of Parliament and (b) the Common Law the Constitution and/or statute shall prevail and the incompatible common law principle shall be unenforceable' Idea: The Common Law developed by the Courts in the UK, shall continue to have effect after the adoption of a written constitution, save that in the...

Ian Smith
by Ian Smith
15 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 11
Ian Smith

Phase 2 version: Every officer of the court shall be expected to recognise serious incompatibilities or inconsistencies within the law which they encounter in the course of their duties and shall be obligated to report them to the court. The court shall establish and manage a forum where such reports can be collated and where the problems identified, and possible solutions, can be freely discussed by anyone who wishes to do so [within the constraints of generally acceptable...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
2 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 26
Malcolm Ramsay

Suggested constitution clause: 'Ministers and public officers at all levels must exercise the powers conferred on them reasonably, in good faith, for the purpose for which the powers were conferred and without exceeding the limits of such powers.* Any person with sufficient interest may claim in courts to review the lawfulness of - - an enactment; or - a decision, action or failure to act in relation to the exercise of a public function - and upon such review, the Courts...

Ian Smith
by Ian Smith
21 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 12
Ian Smith

This has been posted in the goverment section but as it is a right or power more closely associated with the Judiciary I thought it worth posting here too. Judicial review is a power of the High Court to review how a given decision by the state was made to confirm that it was done so properly and in accordance with the law. Important to note the following are beyond the Scope of Judicial review:   Proceedings in Parliment National Security decisions Any Court above the High Court...

Andrew Cullyer
by Andrew Cullyer
2 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 6
Andrew Cullyer

Suggested wording: Legal aid shall be available to all persons who do not have the resources to fund their own representation in all cases, either civil or criminal. Original idea: The Constitution should outline that legal aid is a requirement for a functioning legal system and stipulate that there should always be a legal aid system that is somewhat protected from budget cuts.  It can't be too prescriptive, as it needs to be able to adapt to future circumstances, but it should...

Emma McNulty
by Emma McNulty
19 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 33
Emma McNulty
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