Connected Research

Union policy research in the 21st century

UK now has Supreme Court

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A swearing-in ceremony was held today – traditionally the start of the new legal year – for the 11 justices of the UK’s new Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court will be the highest court of appeal in the United Kingdom (for all cases except Scottish criminal cases) and replaces the House of Lords, which has held such a role for the last 130 years. The court will be housed at the specially renovated Middlesex Guildhall in Parliament Square and will be presided over by a formal President, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers (the former Lord Chief Justice).

The establishment of the Supreme Court is connected to the separation of powers in the UK and is a move towards the splitting off of judges entitled to hear appeal cases at the highest level from the law lords who retain a role passing legislation. Justices of the Supreme Court who are also members of the House of Lords will remain members, but newly appointed justices will not be – hence, it is currently a move towards the achievement of the separation of powers rather than the actual achievement of that separation itself. Over time, however, that will be the effect of the creation of the new court.

So, exciting times for constitutional experts, even if this particular change is rooted firmly within the British tradition of quiet, steady-as-she-goes reform rather than a big bang approach.


Written by Calvin

01/10/2009 at 6:30 pm

Posted in Social policy

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