Politics, Unit 2, Judicial Neutrality

Cards on arguments for and against the idea that UK judges remain neutral.

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  • Created by: Eleanor
  • Created on: 06-05-11 18:24

Agruments AGAINST judicial neutrality still existi

  • The judiciary consists of a very narrow social, economic and professional background- mostly male, former QCs from Eton and Oxbridge.
  • They tend to come from social backgrounds with a bais against certain groups- women, homosexuals and trade unionistmany Supreme Court judges formerly sat in the House of Lords, which is seen as an incredibly conservative institution- could therefore be influenced by former colleagues.
  • The Supreme Court has only 1 female member, out of 12. 11 are Oxbridge graduates.
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Arguments FOR judicial neutrality still existing.

  • There are many judges who are seen as 'liberal', ushc as Lords Woolf, Hoffman and Bingham.
  • Both of the main parties have criticised them for being biased- they cannot be biased both ways and therefore must be neutral.
  • The Human Rights Act (1998) has provided the judiciary with increased "ammunition" to be used against the state in civial cases.
  • The Belmarsh case and the Mental Health Act show changing attitudes within the judiciary.
  • Michael Howard lost many cases over prison reviews and human rights abuses.
  • There has recently been a large number of casesin which the individual has been favoured over the state.
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Comments and Corrections.

1) "tend to come from social backgrounds thought to hold these views." The actual veracity of this comes under evaluation (AO2).

2) the House of Lords since 1997 has had more Labour peers than Conservative ones. You may not get way with the " is seen as an incredibly conservative institution" point.

3) "The supreme court at it's foundation in 2009 had only one female member out of twelve, eleven from Oxbridge ect." Just for clarity since it has only 10 members now, still only one woman however. The Lord Reed, set to be youngest member at 55, joins next year.

4) "There are many judges who were seen as 'liberal'." Lord Hoffman is no longer in office; he 'retired' after failuring to declare that he had links with Amnesty International in 2009.

4) the point made in the text book when it refers to the Belmarsh Case and the Mental Health Act is not that there have been "changing attitudes", the SC has only been present for 3 years, but the claim that it was never biased from the outset.

5) "Michael Howard, former Conservative Home Secretary, lost"

A side from these small things it's fine.

Gabby Tracey


not very detailed but thanks anyway :)

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