Supreme Court of the United Kingdom: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

Advertisements

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Supreme court crest (official).svg
Badge of the Supreme Court
Established October 2009
Jurisdiction United Kingdom
Location Middlesex Guildhall, London
Composition method Appointed by Monarch on advice of Prime Minister
Chosen name recommended to PM by a selection commission.
Authorized by Constitutional Reform Act 2005, Part 3[1]
Number of positions 12
Website www.supremecourt.gov.uk
President of the Supreme Court
Currently Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers
Since 1 October 2009
United Kingdom
Coat of Arms of the UK Government

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
the United Kingdom



Other countries · Atlas
Politics portal

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the supreme court (court of last resort, highest appellate court) in all matters under English law, Welsh law, Northern Irish law and Scottish civil law (the court has no authority over criminal cases in Scotland, where the High Court of Justiciary remains the supreme criminal court). The Supreme Court also has jurisdiction to determine devolution disputes — cases in which the legal powers of the three devolved governments or laws made by the devolved legislatures are questioned.

The Supreme Court sits in the Middlesex Guildhall in Westminster, London, which it shares with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

The Supreme Court was established by Part 3 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and started work on 1 October 2009.[1][2] It assumed the judicial functions of the House of Lords, which were exercised by the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (commonly called "Law Lords"), the 12 professional judges appointed as members of the House of Lords to carry its judicial business out. Its jurisdiction over devolution matters had previously been held by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Contents

Jurisdiction

The main role of the UK Supreme Court is to hear appeals from courts in the United Kingdom's three legal systems: England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. (English and Welsh law differ only to the extent that the National Assembly for Wales makes laws for Wales that differ from those in England.) The Supreme Court acts as the highest court for civil appeals from the Court of Session in Scotland but the highest appeal for criminal cases is kept in Scotland[3]. It may hear appeals from the civil Court of Session, just as the House of Lords did previously.

From the Court of Session, permission to appeal is not required and any case can proceed to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom if two Advocates certify that an appeal is suitable. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, leave to appeal is required either from the Court of Appeal or from a Justice of the Supreme Court itself.

The Court's focus is on cases that raise points of law of general public importance. Like the previous Appellate Committee of the House of Lords, appeals from many fields of law are likely to be selected for hearing—including commercial disputes, family matters, judicial review claims against public authorities and issues under the Human Rights Act 1998. The Court also hears some criminal appeals, but not from Scotland as there is no right of appeal from the High Court of Justiciary, Scotland's highest criminal court.

The Supreme Court also determines "devolution issues" (as defined by the Scotland Act 1998, the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 2006). These are legal proceedings about the powers of the three devolved administrations—the Northern Ireland Executive and Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament, and the Welsh Assembly Government and the National Assembly for Wales. Devolution issues are previously heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and most are about compliance with rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, brought into national law by the Devolution Acts and the Human Rights Act 1998.

History

The creation of a Supreme Court for the United Kingdom was first mooted in a July 2003 Department of Constitutional Affairs Consultation Paper [4]. Although the report noted that there had been no criticism of the current law lords, or any indication of an actual bias; it felt that the separation of the judicial functions of the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords should be made explicit from the legislative functions of the House of Lords. First, it was concerned whether there is any longer sufficient transparency of independence from the executive and the legislature to give assurance of the independence of the judiciary[4]. Looked at alternatively it was argued that requirement for the appearance of impartiality and independence also limited the ability of the Law Lords to contribute to the work of the House of Lords, thus reducing the value to both them and the House of their membership. [4] Second, it was concerned that it was not always understood by the public that judicial decisions of "the House of Lords" were in fact taken by the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords and that non-judicial members were never involved in its judgements. Conversely, it was felt that the the extent to which the Law Lords themselves have decided to refrain from getting involved in political issues in relation to legislation on which they might later have to adjudicate was not always appreciated.[4] The new President of The Court Lord Phillips has claimed that their old position had confused people and that with the Supreme Court there would for the first time in the UK be a clear separation of powers among the judiciary, the legislature and the executive.[5] Finally, it was noted that space within the House of Lords was at a constant premium and a separate supreme court would ease the pressure on the Palace of Westminster. [4]

The main argument against the court was that the previous system had worked well and kept costs down.[6] Reformers expressed concerns that the historical admixture of legislative, judicial and executive power in the UK might conflict with the state's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. Officials who make or execute laws have an interest in court cases that put those laws to the test. When the state invests judicial authority in those officials, it puts the independence and impartiality of the courts at risk. Consequently, it was supposedly possible that the decisions of the Law Lords might be challenged in the European Court of Human Rights on the basis that they had not constituted a fair trial.[7]

Lord Neuberger has expressed fear that the new court could make itself more powerful than the House of Lords committee it succeeded, saying that there is a real risk of "judges arrogating to themselves greater power than they have at the moment". Lord Phillips said such an outcome was "a possibility", but was "unlikely".[8]

The reforms were controversial and were brought forward with little consultation but were subsequently extensively debated in Parliament.[9] During 2004, a select committee of the House of Lords scrutinised the arguments for and against setting up a new court.[10] The Government estimated the set-up cost of the Supreme Court at £56.9 million.[11]

Other supreme courts in the United Kingdom

The High Court of Justiciary, the Court of Session and the Office of the Accountant of Court comprise the College of Justice, are known as the Supreme Courts of Scotland.[12]

Before 1 October 2009, there were two other courts known as supreme court, namely the Supreme Court of England and Wales, which was created in the 1870s under the Judicature Acts, and the Supreme Court of Judicature in Northern Ireland, each of which consists of a Court of Appeal, High Court of Justice and Crown Court. When the provisions of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 came into force, those became known as the Senior Courts of England and Wales and the Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland respectively, to avoid confusion.

Composition

Organisation

President

Deputy President

The current Deputy President of the court is Lord Hope of Craighead

Justices

Justices of the Supreme Court are not subject to term limits, but may be removed from office on the address of Parliament.[13] All British judges (including Supreme Court justices) are forced to retire at the age of 70 if first appointed to a judicial office after 31 March 1995, or at the age of 75 otherwise.[14][15]

Acting judges

In addition to the twelve permanent Justices, the President may request other senior judges, drawn from two groups, to sit as "acting judges" of the Supreme Court.[16]

  • The first group is those judges who hold 'office as a senior territorial judge': judges of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, judges of the Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland and judges of the First or Second Division of the Inner House of the Court of Session in Scotland.
  • The second group is known as the 'supplementary panel'. The President may approve in writing retired senior judges' membership of this panel if they are under 75 years of age.

Chief Executive and Registrar

The first Chief Executive of the Court is Jenny Rowe.[17] The Supreme Court's first Registrar is Louise di Mambro. [18]

Appointments process

The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 makes provision for a new appointments process for Justices of the Supreme Court. A selection commission will be formed when vacancies arise. This will be composed of the President and Deputy President of the Supreme Court and a member of the Judicial Appointments Commission of England and Wales, the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland and the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission. In October 2007, the Ministry of Justice announced that this appointments process would be adopted on a voluntary basis for appointments of Lords of Appeal in Ordinary.[19] New judges appointed to the Supreme Court after its creation will not necessarily receive peerages.

Initial Justices

Ten Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (Law Lords) holding office on 1 October 2009 became the first justices of the 12-member Supreme Court.[20] The 11th place on the Supreme Court was filled by Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony (formerly the Master of the Rolls), who was the first Justice to be appointed directly to the Supreme Court.[21] One of the former Law Lords, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, was appointed to replace Lord Clarke as Master of the Rolls,[22] and so did not move to the new court. His replacement, who will be the twelfth and final justice of the Supreme Court, has not yet been announced.

The Senior Law Lord on 1 October 2009, The Rt. Hon. The Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, became the Supreme Court's first President.[23]

The first and current Justices, in order of seniority, (omitting the yet to be announced 12th justice) are:

Name Born Alma Mater Age at appt. First day Prior positions

Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers (President)

01938-01-21 21 January 1938 (age &0000000000000071.00000071) Kings College, Cambridge 71 1 October 2009 Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2008-2009); Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales (2005-2008); Master of the Rolls (2000-2005); Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (1999-2000); Lord Justice of Appeal (1995-1999); Justice of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court (1987-1995); Recorder (1982-1987).

Lord Hope of Craighead (Deputy President)

01938-06-27 27 June 1938 (age &0000000000000071.00000071) St John's College, Cambridge; University of Edinburgh 71 1 October 2009 Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (1996-2009); Lord President of the Court of Session (1989-1996); Dean of the Faculty of Advocates (1986-1989); Chairman of the Medical Appeal Tribunal (1985-1986).

Lord Saville of Newdigate

01936-03-20 20 March 1936 (age &0000000000000073.00000073) Brasenose College, Oxford 73 1 October 2009 Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (1997-2009); Lord Justice of Appeal (1994-1997); Justice of the High Court (1985-1994).

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry

01944-09-18 18 September 1944 (age &0000000000000065.00000065) New College, Oxford; University of Glasgow 65 1 October 2009 Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2001-2009); Lord President of the Court of Session (1996-2001); Justice of the High Court of Justiciary and the Court of Session (1995-1996); Lord Advocate of Scotland (1992-1995); Solicitor General for Scotland (1989-1992).

Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe

01938-03-17 17 March 1938 (age &0000000000000071.00000071) Trinity College, Cambridge 71 1 October 2009 Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2002-2009); Lord Justice of Appeal (1997-2002); Justice of the High Court (1994-1997).

Baroness Hale of Richmond

01947-03-31 31 March 1947 (age &0000000000000062.00000062) Girton College, Cambridge 62 1 October 2009 Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2004-2009); Lord Justice of Appeal (1999-2003); Justice of the High Court (1994-1999); Recorder (1989-1994).

Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood

01937-04-09 9 April 1937 (age &0000000000000072.00000072) Worcester College, Oxford 72 1 October 2009 Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2004-2009); Lord Justice of Appeal (1992-2004); Justice of the High Court (1984-1992); Recorder (1979-1984).

Lord Mance

01943-06-06 6 June 1943 (age &0000000000000066.00000066) University College, Oxford 66 1 October 2009 Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2005-2009); Lord Justice of Appeal (1999-2005); Justice of the High Court (1993-1999); Recorder (1990-1993).

Lord Collins of Mapesbury

01941-05-07 7 May 1941 (age &0000000000000068.00000068) Downing College, Cambridge; Columbia Law School, New York 68 1 October 2009 Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2009); Lord Justice of Appeal (2007-2009); Justice of the High Court (2000-2007); Deputy High Court Judge (1997-2000); Partner at Herbert Smith (1971-2000).

Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore

01948-02-22 22 February 1948 (age &0000000000000061.00000061) Queen's University Belfast 61 1 October 2009 Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2009); Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland (2004-2009); Justice of the High Court (1993-2004).

Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony

01943-05-13 13 May 1943 (age &0000000000000066.00000066) King's College, Cambridge 66 1 October 2009 Master of the Rolls (2005-2009); Lord Justice of Appeal (1998-2005); Justice of the High Court (1993-1998); Recorder (1985-1992).

Building

The Middlesex Guildhall in London is the location of the Supreme Court.

The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 gave time for a suitable building to be found and fitted out before the Law Lords moved out of the Houses of Parliament, where they had previously used a series of rooms strung out along a corridor in the House of Lords[24].

After a lengthy survey of suitable sites, including Somerset House, the Government announced that the new court would be located in the Middlesex Guildhall, in Parliament Square, Westminster. That decision was the subject of an inquiry by a committee of Parliament,[25] and the grant of planning permission by Westminster City Council for refurbishment works was challenged in judicial review proceedings by the conservation group SAVE Britain's Heritage.[26] It was also reported that English Heritage had been put under enormous pressure to approve the scheme.[27] Feilden + Mawson LLP, supported by Foster & Partners, were appointed architects for the project.[28]

The building had formerly been used as a headquarters for Middlesex County Council and the Middlesex Quarter Sessions, and later as a Crown Court centre.

Badge

The official badge of the Supreme Court (near right) was granted by the College of Arms in October 2008.[29] It comprises both the Greek letter omega (representing finality) and the symbol of Libra (symbolising the scales of justice), in addition to the four floral emblems of the United Kingdom: a Tudor rose, representing England, conjoined with the leaves of a leek, representing Wales; a flax for Northern Ireland; and a thistle, representing Scotland.[30]

Two adapted versions of its official badge are used by the Supreme Court. One (above, in infobox at top right portion of this article) features the words "The Supreme Court" and the letter omega in black (in the official badge granted by the College of Arms, the interior of the Latin and Greek letters are gold and white, respectively), and displays a simplified version of the crown (also in black) and larger, stylised versions of the floral emblems; this modified version of the badge is featured in the new Supreme Court website,[31] as well as in the forms that will be used by the Supreme Court.[32] A further variant on the above omits the crown entirely and is featured prominently throughout the building.[33]

The emblem with stylised depictions of the four floral emblems.

Yet another emblem is formed from a more abstract set of depictions of the four floral emblems and is used in the carpets of the Middlesex Guildhall. It was designed by Sir Peter Blake, famous for designing the cover of The Beatles' 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.[34][35]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Part 3, Constitutional Reform Act 2005", Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom 4: 3, 2005-03-24, http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/documents/2005/4/ukpga/c4/part3, retrieved 2009-09-02  
  2. ^ Statutory Instrument 2009 No. 1604 The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (Commencement No. 11) Order 2009 (Coming into force 2009-10-01)
  3. ^ Scottish Courts website
  4. ^ a b c d e Constitutional Reform: A Supreme Court for the United Kingdom, Department of Constitutional Affairs, July 2003, http://www.dca.gov.uk/consult/supremecourt/  
  5. ^ "New Supreme Court opens with media barred". The Daily Telegraph. 1 October 2009. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/6251272/New-Supreme-Court-opens-with-media-barred.html. "For the first time, we have a clear separation of powers between the legislature, the judiciary and the executive in the United Kingdom. This is important. It emphasises the independence of the judiciary, clearly separating those who make the law from those who administer it."  
  6. ^ Wakeham report 2000, Chapter 9, Recomendation 57.
  7. ^ "The Supreme Court is an unnecessary attack on the constitution". The Daily Telegraph. 1 October 2009. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/6252414/The-Supreme-Court-is-an-unnecessary-attack-on-the-constitution.html. "The Government argued that there must be a separation in order to comply with Article Six of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees a fair trial."  
  8. ^ Rozenberg, Joshua (8 September 2009). "Fear over UK Supreme Court impact". BBC News Online. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8237855.stm.  
  9. ^ See A Le Sueur, 'From Appellate Committee to Supreme Court: A Narrative', chap 5 in L. Blom-Cooper, G. Drewry and B. Dickson (eds),The Judicial House of Lords (Oxford University Press, 2009); Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17/2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1374357
  10. ^ "Lords Select Committee on the Constitutional Reform Bill First Report". http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200304/ldselect/ldcref/125/12505.htm.  
  11. ^ "Written Answer of the Ministry of Justice to question posed by Lord Steinberg (Col. WA102". Lords Hansard. 2008-03-26. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldhansrd/text/80326w0003.htm#column_WA102.  
  12. ^ "Scottish Court Service: An Introduction" (PDF). Scottish Court Service. http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/docs/you_and_us/recruitment/SCS%20An%20Introduction.pdf. Retrieved 2008-05-23. "The Supreme Courts are made up of the Court of Session, the High Court of Justiciary and the Accountant of Court's Office"  
  13. ^ Section 33 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005
  14. ^ Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993
  15. ^ Pannick, David (March 26, 2009). "Seventy is far too early for a supreme court judge to retire". Times Online. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/columnists/article5969902.ece.  
  16. ^ Constitutional Reform Act 2005, section 38
  17. ^ http://www.justice.gov.uk/whatwedo/supreme-court-chief-exec.htm
  18. ^ http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/about/executive-team.html
  19. ^ http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/announcement_081007c.htm
  20. ^ Constitutional Reform Act 2005, section 24
  21. ^ "Justice of the UK Supreme Court". Number10.gov.uk. London, United Kingdom: Prime Minister's Office. 2009-04-20. http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page19036. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  22. ^ Frances Gibb (2009-07-23). "Lord Neuberger named Master of the Rolls". Times Online (Times Newspapers Ltd.). http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article6724777.ece. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  23. ^ "Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers appointed as senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary". http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page15158.asp.  
  24. ^ "Truly the Supremes? Reflections on the New Court, UKSC Blog". http://www.olswang.com/blogs/scotuk2/article.asp?id=264. Retrieved 2009-10-07.  
  25. ^ "Minutes of Oral Evidence Taken before the Constitutional Affairs Committee 17 April 2007". http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmconst/465/7041701.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-23.  
  26. ^ "The Queen on the application of Save Britain's Heritage v. Westminster City Council". High Court (Administrative Court). http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2007/807.html. Retrieved 2008-05-23.  
  27. ^ "Lord Falconer's supreme blunder". The Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article677664.ece. Retrieved 2008-10-26.  
  28. ^ "Questions to the Department for Constitutional Affairs, 15 January 2007 (Col. 877W)". Commons Hansard. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmhansrd/cm070115/text/70115w0026.htm.  
  29. ^ "The College of Arms Newsletter". College of Arms. December 2008. http://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/Newsletter/019.htm#News. Retrieved 2009-02-25.  
  30. ^ "Official emblem of the UK Supreme Court announced". Ministry of Justice (HM Government). 28 October 2008. http://www.justice.gov.uk/about/supreme-court-official-emblem.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-25.  
  31. ^ http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk
  32. ^ http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/docs/sc001_0409x1.pdf
  33. ^ "In pictures: UK Supreme Court". BBC News Online. BBC News. 15 July 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/8151625.stm. Retrieved 18 August 2009.  
  34. ^ "Inside the UK Supreme Court". BBC News Online. BBC News. 15 July 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8152427.stm. Retrieved 18 August 2009.  
  35. ^ "THE WIDER VIEW: Inside the imposing interior of Britain's new £36m Supreme Court". 2 August 2009. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1203675/THE-WIDER-VIEW-Inside-imposing-interior-Britains-new-36m-Supreme-Court.html. Retrieved 18 August 2009.  

Further reading

  • Le Sueur, Andrew (ed). Building the UK's New Supreme Court: National and Comparative Perspectives (Oxford University Press 2004). ISBN 0-19-926462-7.[1]
  • Morgan, Derek (ed). Constitutional Innovation: the creation of a Supreme Court for the United Kingdom (A special issue of the Legal Studies, the Journal of the Society of Legal Scholars).[2]

External links

Coordinates: 51°30′01.3″N 0°07′41.3″W / 51.500361°N 0.128139°W / 51.500361; -0.128139


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message