The entire reform bill is a farce - There is no pressing need to reform the judiciary; we have what is regarded as the worlds best and most impartial justice system, and this bill is an attempt to increase government control while claiming to seperate powers.
Look at the two key provisions: The Lord Chancellor sits in all 3 branches of government, oh what an affront to the seperation of powers. Accept it isn't. There has NEVER been a case of a Lord Chancellor or judge been found to have acted for political reasons while exercising his judicial function. Moreover, while labour accords no respect to tradition, in this area it is vitally important - will a government minister feel the same compulsion to act impartially as the head of the judiciary? Will his junior ministers? It seems not.
As to the new supreme court, it will (for better or for worse) have no new powers - it cannot strike down legislation. It consists of the same people. It will continue to meet it the Lords. It is, in fact, EXACTLY the same as the current situation, but will cost 40 million + pounds to implement. Hmm. The only change is that the law lords will no longer sit in the legislature, supposedly increasing the speration of powers. but this ignores the fact that the law lords don't vote (and rarely even speak) in the house of lords at the moment! The current system does however, allow them to have first hand knowledge of parliaments legislative intent when it comes to interpreting the statutes in the courts, an invaluable assett in making fair decisions that would be lost by theis supposed 'reform' (a word which normally indicates change for the better).
The new bill will vest the power to appoint judges, ultimately, in the hands of a minor department (constitutional affairs) in thrall to the home office and a home secretary with a contemptable disrespect for our laws and constitution, and shatter centuries of impartiality in our courts.
Oh, but we'll be more like the americans....
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The UK Supreme Court watch
- 09-03-2004 19:23