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The Judiciary & Civil Liberties:
Branches of government:
There are three branches of government:
1. Executive branch
Makes laws
`The Government'
PM, Cabinet and junior ministers
2. Legislative branch
Promulgation (consents to laws)
Parliament ­ HoC and HoL ­ all MPs from governing and opposition parties
3. Judicial branch

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Decide what punishment to give out No significant impact, but often there is dispute between
politicians and judges over what sentences should be

Roles of the judiciary [with examples]:

Role Description Example
Though not of direct political importance, when a Petty crimes are heard in the
Dispensing crime is…

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Limitations of the judiciary:
The sovereignty of Parliament:
Acts of Parliament must be legal
Judiciary cannot ever set aside an Act of Parliament
The judiciary may only recommend a change to the law
The rule of law:
Every citizen is entitled to a fair trial
Justice must be applied fairly…

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A judicial review was held into whether this infringed their human rights under the
HRA 1998
RESULT = the legislation was not compatible with the HRA, the government amended
the legislation as a result of the decision

Limits on judicial review:
If the government is ruled to be acting ultra…

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More liberal judges have been appointed ­ tend to Judges come from a background as lawyers tend to
favour individual rights over state power have an inbuilt respect for the state
Lord Woolf

Judicial independence:
Judicial independence = the idea that members of the judiciary should not be influenced by…

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Politicians criticising judges
1. Politicians have publically criticised sentencing decisions made by judges

e.g. ­ 2011 Denzel Cassius Harvey was convicted for swearing at police ­ Justice Bean
overturned the conviction: "police are used to be sworn at". MP Phillip Davies called
Justice Bean "rather ridiculous"

2. Politicians have publically…

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They are independent ­ particularly important when the inquiry is investigating actions of
They have expertise and extensive legal experience
Governments choose to hold public inquiries if...
They want to prove no wrong-doing has taken place (may be reluctant if wrong-doing has
occurred: Widgery Report 1972 Saville Report 1998)…

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Whether newspapers had been using Critical of media ­ Independent body to
unethical methods of getting stories supportive of the regulate press ­ law to force
Leveson (phone hacking etc) government government to protect
Inquiry (Were politicians too close to media? In Cameron is not too freedom of the press…

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Blair's Labour Party Manifesto 1997 promised to safeguard civil liberties:
1. Freedom of Information Act 2000 (2005)
Citizens have the right to see public documents
HOWEVER documents which `are a matter of national security' or `would damage the
public interest' were not included
E.g. ­ the expenses scandal 2009: Peter…

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The courts have no power to force Parliament to conform(however it is difficult for
Parliament to resist the pressure of an adverse court decision)

Controversial decisions made under the Human Rights Act:

Case Why was this decision seen as controversial?
Campbell v. MGN Ltd (2002) Unelected judges making decision which…


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