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Judges and Civil Liberties

Unit 2: Governing the UK AS Government and Politics
by

David Rawlings

on 6 March 2014

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Transcript of Judges and Civil Liberties

What is the judiciary?
In its simplest sense, the term judiciary refers collectively to all UK judges.
Criminal Law
Civil Law
What's the difference?
Crimes by an individual or groups against the state.
E.g. violent behaviour, serious fraud or burglary.
Civil law is concerned with interrelationships between different groups of individuals.
E.g. Wills or contractual disputes.
The UK Judiciary
Does not exist as a single body.
Scotland
Northern Ireland
The one feature common to all three systems is the part played by the
UK Supreme Court
, which acts as the
highest court of appeal
from the High Court of Justiciary and Court of Session in Scotland, the Court of Judicature in Northern Ireland and the Court of Appeal in England and Wales.
Historically an independent kingdom.
An English colony.
Operate under different legal arrangements than those in place in England and Wales.
Judges and Civil Liberties
Videos:
Exam Board Info:
http://www.edexcel.com/quals/gce/gce08/gov/Pages/default.aspx
How Does the Judiciary Function?
To understand how the functions and organisation of the judiciary in the UK.
Learning Outcomes:

C
: Can explain the structure of the UK court system...
B
: and understand the role of judges at each level...
A
: and evaluate the significance of the judiciary.
To judge how independent and neutral the UK judiciary is.
Learning Outcomes:

C
: Can describe measures to ensure independence and neutrality...
B
: and explain measures with reference to a source...
A
: and evaluate how well independence and neutrality are maintained.
To assess how well civil liberties are protected by the UK judiciary.
Learning Outcomes:

C
: Can give examples of how the judiciary protect civil liberties...
B
: and explain limits on the power of the judiciary...
A
: and evaluate the effectiveness of the judiciary in protecting civil liberties.
How independent and neutral is the judiciary?
How well does the judiciary protect civil liberties?
Separation of powers
Contempt of Court
Security of tenure for judges
The Constitutional reform Act (2005) saw the creation of an independent Judicial Appointments Commisiion.
Led to greater transparency and less politicisation in the process of judicial appointments.
Guaranteed Salaries
Judicial Independence is based on 6 pillars
Judges are SECSSI!
I
S
S
C
E
S
Open-ended term
Must retire at 75
Experience of senior judges
Most senior judges have served a lengthy 'apprenticeship' as barristers.
Professional pride in their position means they would rarely be swayed by political pressure.
Sub-judicial rules prevent individuals from publicly speaking during legal proceedings.
Salaries of judges cannot be altered by politicians.
Therefore judges are free from financial pressure.
Independent Appointments System
Downgrading of the post of Lord Chancellor.
Creation of a new UK Supreme Court.
These have separated the senior judiciary from other branches of government, e.g. the House of Lords.
Independence
Neutrality
Judges are your PAL!
P:
Politically neutral - judges cannot be politically active, cannot be active members of a political party and must not make public political statements.
A:
Anonymity - judges should maintain a high level of anonymity, particularly in regards to the media.
L:
Legal justification - all decisions made by a judge must have a legal justification and cannot be based on personal opinion.
Should judges be democratically elected?
NO
YES
Should the state pay criminals' legal fees?
NO
YES
What do judges actually do?
Ensure justice is done.
Settle disputes between UK and EU law.
Hear cases on appeal from the Appeals Court.
Deal with major human rights abuses, under HRA 1998.
Establish legal precedent.
Clarify the meaning of the law.
Hear appeal cases from lower courts.
Impose sentences.
Give guidance to the jury.
Preside over trials.
Ensure law is properly applied.
Add these roles to the various levels of the judiciary:
How does the judiciary work?
UK Supreme Court
Middlesex Guildhall, Westminster
Home of the Supreme Court
Ensure justice is done.
Settle disputes between UK and EU law.
Hear cases on appeal from the Appeals Court.
At the Court of Appeal level and above, judges are generally concerned with clarifying the meaning of the law, rather than simply applying it.
These courts can establish legal precedent (i.e. common law).
At the High Court level, judges hear more serious csases and also hear appeal cases from lower courts.
Impose sentences.
Give guidance to the jury.
Preside over trials.
Ensure law is properly applied.
Court of Appeal (Criminal and Civil Divisions)
http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/interactive-learning/interactive-courtroom/coa-civil-scene
Click this link for more information!
High Court
Vincent Tabak - Bristol Crown Court, 2011
Crown Court and County Courts
These two levels are of the most concern for Politics.
These tiers set legal precedent and therefore establish common law.
Is the judiciary too powerful, or is it not powerful enough?
[40 marks]
Politicisation
Court of Appeals - deal with major cases arising under HRA.
UK Supreme court - clarify legal issues, including those with EU laws.
High Court cases set legal precedence through
judicial review
.
Result in 'common law'.
Judgement
Too powerful
Not powerful enough
Judicial independence.
Little accountability.
Magistrates don't require qualifications.
Judges are taken from a relatively small pool.
Judges are appointed for an open-ended term.
Judges
Judicial Power
HRA, 1998.
Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC), 2005
Where do the 'crim crims' go game?
Vincent Tabak murders his neighbour.
Steven Gerrard punches a man in a bar fight.
Abu Qatada appeals against a High Court decision for extradition.
Harry Redknapp is accused of tax evasion.
Max Mosely attempts to clear his reputation.
The News of the World is accused of phone hacking.
Task: Create a diagram of the judicial system in the UK.
Do laws work?
NO
YES
Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
NO
YES
5/10/25 Mark Questions
Recap:
How is judicial independence and neutrality maintained?
SECSSI
STEPS:
Identify three measures from the source.
Explain three measures using own knowledge.
5
With reference to the source, describe the measures that exist to maintain the independence and neutrality of the judiciary. (5)
5 minutes
STEPS:
2/3 points from the source.
Explain each point from the source.
2/3 points from your own knowledge.
Explain each point from your own knowledge.
10
With reference to the source, and your own knowledge, explain how the judiciary has been reformed since 2005. (10)
25
c) To what extent are UK judges both independent and neutral? (25)
STEPS:
1. Make a judgement on the question.
2. Make a case to support your judgement.
Give 3 explained points.
3. Make a case against your judgement.
Give 3 explained points.
4. Sum up your argument.
Learning Plan
Links
Lessons
12 Supreme Court judges, 5 on each case.
Decision is binding.
Roles of Judges:
Using pp.40-41 explain the below roles of senior judges, adding to your structure of the judiciary diagram.
Success Criteria:
Declaring common law,
Interpreting statute law,
Developing case law,
Applying the rule of law,
Asserting civil liberties,
Controlling abuses of power by government.
Which is the most important?
Some interesting recent Supreme Court cases:
http://www.theguardian.com/law/guardian-law-blog/2013/dec/16/uk-supreme-court-independence-url
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/27/christian-guesthouse-owners-appeal-gay-couples
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/30/poundland-case-workfare-forced-labour-employers-workers
http://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/jan/15/children-separating-parents-say-live-court
PAL
Independence
Neutrality
What is the difference?
Success Criteria:
What is required from 5/10/25 source questions?
How long do you have for each question?
How should you structure your answers?
THINK / PAIR / SHARE
I trust the court system in the UK.
NO
YES
Civil liberties can be eroded for the greater good.
NO
YES
The Belmarsh Case (2004)
1. Read through the BBC article.
Why did the judiciary act?
How well did the protect civil liberties?
What do you think the outcomes of the decision were for the Anti-terror Law (2001)?
Civil Liberties
Fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens that are guaranteed by law.
For example: right to vote; freedom of expression; right to life.
Protection of Civil Liberties Table:
Task: Complete the table of protection of civil liberties.
Find examples for each of the headings, threats to those liberties and how they are protected.
E.g.
Freedom of expression
Threatened by Anti-Terrorism laws, Libel laws
Protected by statute law, Freedom of Information Act (2000) and ECHR (1950)
How effectively does the judiciary protect civil liberties in the UK?
[40 marks]
Card-sort:
Sort the cards into strengths and weaknesses of the judiciary in protecting civil liberties.
What makes a good 40 mark answer?
How well do the judiciary protect civil liberties?
Full transcript