The Judiciary & Civil Liberties

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  • The Judiciary & Civil Liberties
    • Judicial Independence
      • Independent body from Parliament
      • Senior Judges
      • Judges ARE independent
        • Security of Tenure
          • Judges cannot be removed from their position even if the decision made offends or is disagreed by gov.
        • Training and experience as lawyers
          • Taught them to only judge cases on the basis of Laws.
          • Taught them the importance of independence
        • Appointment system reformed in 2005
          • Judges now appointed by special commitees/ appointments commission (not gov.)
        • Contempt of court for any servant of gov to interferre with a result of a case, interferrance could result in legal action taken against the individual.
      • Judges NOT independent
        • Prime Minister has the final veto (say) over the appointment's of senior judges
          • Judges now appointed by special commitees/ appointments commission (not gov.)
        • Gov. has some control over the legal system
          • Not direct control but a good deal of interferrance
        • Open dialogue between Judges and politicians
          • Could result in indirect political pressure
    • Judicial Neutrality
      • Cannot allow political & personal views influence decisions
      • Judges ARE neutral
        • Hard evidence of neutrality because high court decisions made mostly oppose gov.
        • Increase in liberal thinkers who are quick to criticize gov for attacks on civil liberties
        • Human Rights Act given judges more oppurtunity to challenge gov. in favour of Human Rights
      • Judges are NOT neutral
        • Supreme court is not balanced in its social sense
          • Judges are middle-aged, upper/middle class and white background.
          • Considered conservatives
        • Senior Judges previous seats in HOL means conserv. influence
    • Judiciary
      • Judicial Review
        • May set aside decisions where citizen rights have been abused
          • Ridge V Baldwin (1964)
            • Citizens can appeal against gov. decisions
            • "Natural  justice"
              • Suggests citizens have not been treated fairly
        • Review decisions made by the state/public bodies
      • Case Law
        • Judicial precedent
          • Judge made laws
            • Common laws
          • When decision is made and a similar case arises, should be dealt in the same way
    • Civil Liberties
      • Rights & freedom citizens enjoy in relation to the state and its laws
        • Right to a fair trial
        • Magna Carta (1215) - traditional rights and freedoms
        • Freedom of info and open gov.
          • During 1970's there was increasing concern the UK gov. was too secretive.
      • Rights to vote
      • Threat to Civil Liberties
        • Increase in police power e.g. Public Order Act 1994
          • Growth in crime rate called for even more powers granted to law enforcement agencies


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