Political role of the Judiciary (part 1)

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  • Created by: Sam Jones
  • Created on: 07-03-13 10:00

Cases of 'political' significance

  • Dispensing justice
  • Interpretation
  • Creating case law- application of law (e.g discrimination)
  • Declaring common law-rules of behaviour that have developed by tradition
  • Judicial review-check on power of government, protects rights of citizens
  • Public inquiries-inquiries ordered by government into matters of widespread public concern
  • External jurisdiction
  • Sentencing issues

Public enquiries

  • Hutton inquiry

The Hutton inquiry was a judicial inquiry in the UK chaired by Lord Hutton, who was appointed by the Labour government to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of David Kelly, a biological warfare expert and former UN weapons inspector in Iraq. Kelly had been the source for reports made by three BBC journalists that the Government, particularly the press office of Tony Blair, the prime minister, had knwingly embellished the dossier with misleading exaggerations of Iraq's military capabilities; specifically, a claim that Iraq had the ability to launch a strike using "weapons of mass destruction" within 45 minutes.These were reported by 3 BBC journalists. The Government angrily denounced the reports and accused the corporation of poor journalism. In subsequent weeks the corporation stood by the report, saying that it had a reliable source. Following intense media speculation, Kelly was finally named in the press as the source for Gilligan's story on 9 July. Kelly apparently committed suicide in a field close to his home on 17 July. An inquiry was announced by the British government the following day. The inquiry was to investigate "the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr Kelly". The inquiry opened on 1 August. Hearings began on 11 August. The first phase of the inquiry closed on 4 September. A second session of witness-calling began on Monday 15 September, where some witnesses from the first session, such as


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