THE JUDICIARY OCR GOVERNMENT PAPER 2

ALL NOTES ON THE JUDICIARY OCR PAPER 2 - GOVERNMENT

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THE JUDICIARY
DEFINITION
The branch of government responsible for interpreting the law and deciding legal
disputes
STRUCTURE OF UK COURTS
Top ­ UK Supreme Court since 2009 ­ final court of appeal
2nd Top ­ 2 courts of appeal ­ one criminal one civil cases
2nd Bottom - Crown courts and County and High Courts
Bottom ­ Magistrate dealing with 98% of all criminal cases
ROLES AND FUNCTIONS
No written constitution but has 6 broad roles
INTERPRITATE THE LAW ­ interpretive areas of the law that might be cloudy(beating a
burglar with a cricket bat until he is brain damaged was unreasonable)
ADMINISTER THE LAW ­ decision maker in civil cases (companies over a contract or
parents over custody) and decide whether a sentence is necessary in a criminal case
CARRY OUT JUDICIAL REVIEW ­ review or examine actions of the executive (tends to
attract media attention)
CHAIR PUBLIC INQUIRIES ­ over controversial issues and report or make
recommendations (Smith looked at Smith murder case in 2005 and Lord Saville looked
at bloody Sunday inquiry)
ENFOURCE EU LAW AND EUROPEAN CONENTION ON HUMAN RIGHT ­ make sure rules
and regulation of EU are implemented. Deal with occasions EU may conflict with UK Laws
DEBATE IN LORDS OR ELSEWARE ­ increasingly got involved in debated on relevant
issues such as assisted suicide or age consent
ROLE OF THE JUDICARY
Judges are the principal defenders of citizens rights in the UK (citizen feels policewoman
has exceeded their authority or editor believes he is being prevented from publishing a
critical argument of a minister)
Judge can declare action and even punish those who he thinks are guilty of a crime
If a citizen does not like judges review they can appeal to European Court of Human
Rights who can overturn the judge's ruling if they wish
Judge ruled on the separation of Siamese twins going ahead even though the parents
opposed and one of the babies would die / Decided whether the government had the
right to stop agriculture officials coming on their land and slaughtering their animals
which possibly had foot-and-mouth
Process slow and expensive (costs run into six or seven figures) and going to European
Court of Human Rights can take several years

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IMPACT AND IMPORTANCE OF JUDICARY
Independent from the executive and legislature
Uphold vital principles of the rule of law
Uphold rights and liberties and interpret them into HRA and EU Law
One branch of judicial decides who to prosecute and for what (cash for honours or MPs
and peers expenses)
can have a huge political impact in cases such as asylum, immigration and detention
without trail
decisions that politicians choose to ignore (assisted suicide)
POWERS OF INSTATUTORY INDEPENCE
ULTRA VIRES ­ disputes with government, can…read more

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THREATS TO THESE RIGHTS
Became more prominent under Blair and Thatcher (when dealing with terrorist threats)
RIGHT TO SILENCE ­ uncertain whether you had a right to stay silent after arrest
FREEDOM OF THE PRESS ­ Official Secrets Act prevented the press from doing their
`duty' of checking the government.…read more

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Judiciary made sure legislature and executive remained inside the law
Lord Chancellor used to be in all 3 and PM is in 2
JUDICIAL NEUTRALITY (SEPARATION OF POWERS)
Remain neutral as far as politics and political issues
Judges are not able to get involved in political parties or pressure groups but still have
the right to vote but have to make decisions on political situations (police powers,
asylum seekers, length of sentences) and head public inquires on highly political cases
(Bloody Sunday killings and the…read more

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