UK/US Supreme Court Comparison

  • Created by: Q_
  • Created on: 01-04-19 19:00
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  • UK/US Judiciary Comparison
    • Under the US Constitution, individual US states are free to organise their own state-level judiciary largely as they see fit.
      • UK/US comparisons tend to focus on the higher levels of the US federal judiciary in the USA and the senior judiciary in the UK.
    • The US judiciary is a broadly hierarchical structure. The US Supreme Court sits above 13 US Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, with the US District Courts, the US Claims Court and the US Court of International Trade at the lowest tier.
    • The UK Supreme Court only comprises of 12 members.
      • The US Supreme Court has 9 justices since 1869.
    • US courts, like their UK counterparts, are expected to operate with high levels of judicial independence and judicial neutrality.
    • The UK Supreme Court inherited its main powers from the Law Lords who sat in the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords, which the Supreme Court replaced in 2009 (under the CRA (2005).
    • Article 3 of the Constitution sets out the roles and powers of the US Supreme Court - but the court's main power of judicial review is not clearly enumerated.
      • This power  was discovered by the court in the case of Marbury v Madison (1803) and extended in a number of landmark cases thereafter.
    • The power of judicial review allows the US Supreme Court to strike down regular acts of Congress where they violate constitutional provisions.
      • This makes the US Supreme Court more powerful than its UK counterpart - which, in the absence of a codified and supreme constitution, has the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty and the supremacy of statute law to contend with.
    • The US Bill of Rights is harder to change than the UK HRA 1998, which can easily be repealed in times of national emergency.
      • Subsequent amendments to the US Constitution have offered citizens further enhancedgurantees.
        • For example, the 14th Amendment (1868) guarantees equal protection under the law.


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