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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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 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

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: 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

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

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

VERSION 1: Separation of powers is a fundamental principle of our democracy. Power is divided between the legislature (parliament), the executive (government) and the judiciary. What rules should govern the appointment of judges? Should we set a minimum age for appointment to judicial office? Should we set a minimum level of experience for appointment to judicial office? Should those who are appointed to judicial office be required, under the constitution, to have formal legal...

ConstitutionUK
by ConstitutionUK
4 Votes
Voting closed
Comments 31
ConstitutionUK

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

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
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