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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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

There should be no crimes on the books that do not involve a victim other than a self inflicted one. I'm referring specifically to drug offenses but this also applies to seatbelt laws, suicide and many other victimless crimes. The Constitution should recognise that each individual owns his own life. It does not belong to the state. The government should not be in the business of protecting us from ourselves. This would apply obviously only to consenting adults.

Claire Finn
by Claire Finn
3 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 47
Claire Finn

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

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

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
Voting closed
Comments 8
Kristopher Cussans

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

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: ' 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 constitution clause: 'No individual may be coerced into reporting or giving evidence of the wrongdoing of others unless and to the extent such coercion is imposed in a court of law or is required by international treaties to which the [UK] is a party' Idea behind the clause: The UK's Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 along with other legislation force private individuals to report suspicions they have about others (the penatly for failing to report is prison).  Hundreds of...

Ian Smith
by Ian Smith
11 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 23
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
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