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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No person in Britain is to be exempt from the law, foreign or domestic. This includes removing the privelleges of persons in parliament and foreign nationals who would otherwise have diplomatic immunity (e.g. Pinochet, who was arrested on his visit to Britain).  " CHAPTER 12  Parliamentary Privilege and related matters Privilege of Parliament... "  12.02 freedom from arrest in civil cases; ·  exemption from subpoenas to attend court as a witness;" "  Privilege of peerage...

Kristopher Cussans
by Kristopher Cussans
5 Votes
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Comments 8
Kristopher Cussans

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

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

Suggested clause for the constitution (in the criminal justice section): 'Courts sentencing powers must be fixed by statutes' Idea behind the draft clause: Just that… they are too important to be left to the common law to develop.  That is not to say that judges should not be granted discretion by legislation

Ian Smith
by Ian Smith
5 Votes
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Comments 11
Ian Smith

Suggested clause: 'The rehabilitation of offenders shall be an objective of the state's criminal justice system'

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

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

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

Phase 2 version: Parliament and the courts shall endeavour to keep all laws consistent with each other, and with the values and principles explicitly enshrined in this constitution or taken for granted [without significant dissent] by the general public. When it encounters an incompatibility between a statute and higher laws or generally accepted uncontentious principles, or between different provisions of the constitution, the Supreme Court shall either issue a Declaration of...

Malcolm Ramsay
by Malcolm Ramsay
5 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 17
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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