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Chapter

Cover English Legal System

8. The judiciary  

When considering the judiciary, it is important to understand how judges are appointed, what qualifications are required for the various judicial offices, and how judges may be removed. This information is needed when assessing the important, and often controversial, issues of diversity of the membership of the judiciary, its independence, and its accountability. This chapter describes and discusses the different types of judges and their roles within the English legal system. An outline of the system of judicial appointments is given. There is also comment supplied upon the issues of diversity of membership of the judiciary and the importance of the independence of the judiciary.

Chapter

Cover Equity and Trusts Concentrate

1. The history and development of equity  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. This chapter discusses the development of equity. Equity tackles injustice caused by a strict application of common law rules or unconscionable behaviour. Equity was originally dispensed by the King. However, this was soon delegated to the Lord Chancellor and the Court of Chancery. Equity and the common law were originally administered by separate court systems that coexisted uneasily until the Earl of Oxford’s Case (1615), when the King held that equity prevailed over the common law in the event of a conflict. The administration of equity and the common law was unified by the Judicature Acts 1873–75, meaning that all judges could apply both equitable and common law rules and responses.

Chapter

Cover The Changing Constitution

8. The Foundations of Justice  

Andrew Le Sueur

Everybody agrees there is broad consensus that the constitutional principle of judicial independence is important. In relation to the core judicial functions of hearing cases and writing judgments, the central meaning and application of the principle is fairly straightforward: people holding public office (politicians, parliamentarians, and officials) must refrain from interfering with judicial decision-making in individual cases; and judges should be protected from illegitimate pressure from the news media and other organizations. But hearings and judgments do not ‘just happen’; they have to be facilitated by a wide array of institutions and processes (the justice infrastructure), covering matters as diverse as court buildings, litigation procedures, judicial careers, and legal aid. In the absence of a codified constitution, in the United Kingdom the justice infrastructure is set out in Acts of Parliament, delegated legislation and ‘soft law’ (including the 2003 ‘Concordat’). The day-to-day running of the justice infrastructure can be understood in terms of who carries out functions related to the administration of justice—the judges, government (in particular, the Lord Chancellor), functions shared between judges and government, and functions given to arm’s length bodies. Periodically, the justice infrastructure is reshaped. This is a constitutionally significant activity that may take place in different settings—the political environment, expert environments, and blended environments. The day-to-day running of this infrastructure, along with its periodic reshaping, presents numerous and complex challenges for a legal system intent on respecting judicial independence and facilitating access to justice.

Chapter

Cover Cases and Materials on Constitutional and Administrative Law

4. Judicial Independence  

This chapter examines the notion of judicial independence. It discusses the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and its provisions reforming the office of the Lord Chancellor, establishing a new Supreme Court, and restructuring judicial appointments. Judicial diversity and discipline, along with further change to the judicial appointments process, are also considered. The chapter also considers the accountability of the judiciary to Parliament and the public, and the relationship between judicial independence and parliamentary privilege.