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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There is no justice when citizens cannot afford it. Legal redress is a right for every citizen to ask for but given the current costs of litigation is beyond the reach of the vast majority of people. Barristers and other legal professionals should be employed by a hands off executive agency and their fees should be set  by law. 

Ian Hodgson
by Ian Hodgson
3 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 31
Ian Hodgson

There has been an amount of discussion surrounding the need to clarify the position of the UK Supreme Court, given the binding nature of decisions made at a European level. While I agree that this is something that should be made explicitly clear, I wonder why it is so often discussed (particularly in the media) as if the binding nature of European decisions is a bad thing. Shouldn't we consider it a good thing that if any government within the EU, including our own, infringes upon human...

Emma McNulty
by Emma McNulty
14 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 16
Emma McNulty

Suggested clause: ' All criminal justice laws and measures must be proportionate'. Idea behind the draft clause: Aristotle's principle that 'the just is the proportional, the unjust is what violates the proportional' should be enshrined in modern words.  This would for example permit longer pre-charge detention for suspected murderers and terrorists than for shoplifters and drug users. 

Ian Smith
by Ian Smith
13 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 41
Ian Smith

The idea is simply this:  Should the UK Supreme Court have the power to strike down legislation for being unconstitutional?  A legal problem any law student will be familiar with. Clearly in the US this is the case and certainly the Supreme Court can override Parliment in regards to rules that breach its commitments under the EU famously decided in the 1980's.  Pros - Provides a guarantor for citizens Human and constitutional rights - Is a check on Legislative and Executive power...

Andrew Cullyer
by Andrew Cullyer
22 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 72
Andrew Cullyer

Suggested clause: Courts will be free at the point of use, paid for by Government, for all matters that are not considered vexatious. Original wording: At the moment poorer people must get legal aid, richer people have access to manipulative lawyers and justice gets lost somewhere in the middle. So I think we need two changes to support a fairer system: 1. No cost at point of use for the courts. If you want to go to court, it should be free so long as your case is not shown to be...

Gavin Ayling
by Gavin Ayling
1 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 16
Gavin Ayling

My suggested clause for the constitution is: 'The powers and responsibilities of the Police Forces and all other public law enforcement agencies must be fixed in law by Parliament.'

Ian Smith
by Ian Smith
10 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 10
Ian Smith

Edit: final phase 2 wording: Extraordinary Courts i) Extraordinary courts shall not be allowed. Except for extradition to another jurisdiction in accordance with the law and this Constitution, no person may be removed from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom or the relevant senior courts of England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. ii) Courts for particular fields of law may be established only by a law. -------------- Grabbing an idea from...

Daniel Gaunt
by Daniel Gaunt
2 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 12
Daniel Gaunt

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 clause: 'Parties to proceedings before a court of law must be given an effective right of appeal against court decisions which effect them.' Original idea: All lawyers know that it is extremely difficult to successfully argue that a judge has wrongly decided a factual question as the current case law is stacked heavily against such appeals.  i suggest that our new constitution embraces positive language and declares that all persons subject to judgments of courts should...

Ian Smith
by Ian Smith
13 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 20
Ian Smith
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