• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

how can the judiciary protect human rights?

Extracts from this document...


How is the judiciary able to protect civil liberties in the UK? Civil liberties are the freedoms and rights which the citizen of a state may enjoy, that are guaranteed by the state. Until 1998, with the passage of the Human Rights Act, the UK had no codified set of civil liberties. This meant that citizens' rights were negative. A citizen could do anything up to the point where it becomes restricted by law. It is crucial that the judiciary is able to protect civil liberties and it has several methods with which to do this with, such as judicial review, the European Court of Human Rights and appealing to common law in the high court. The Human Rights Act has provided the judiciary with a codified set of rules that they can use to protect civil liberties. However the government were unwilling to set aside the principle of parliamentary sovereignty which means that Westminster is not subject to the HRA. However the judiciary can make a 'declaration of incompatibility' which allows them to hold the government to account and protect the civil liberties of citizens in the UK. For example, with the Belmarsh detainees case in December 2004. ...read more.


Judges may also question any government acts which are "irrational" or highly unreasonable, or acts which show procedural impropriety. The use of judicial review as a means of questioning government's actions has increased from 87 cases in 1968 to 3848 in 1997. Some argue that this growing number of cases means there is an increasing willingness on the part of the judiciary to intervene in the day-to-day business of government. Also the effectiveness of judicial review is limited by the reluctance of some judges to allow cases to go ahead and access to the system is limited as the right to a judicial review is not automatic. However the judiciary does have a number of remedies to protect civil liberties. The court can quash decisions made by public agents if they feel that they have been acting 'ultra vires.' A public body can be compelled to perform a specified function by law and any public body can be ordered not to carry out or to stop carrying out an action that the court decides is unlawful. A claimant for judicial review may also seek an injunction, a declaration or damages. In this way the judiciary has a number of methods to protect civil liberties that are disputed by judicial reviews. ...read more.


For example Lord Woolf has openly criticised the erosion of civil liberties. In criticising the government the judiciary can put pressure on them to ensure civil liberties are protected. Although elected representatives, the media, tribunals and pressure groups have played an increasingly important role in the protection of civil liberties in the UK, the judiciary remains the primary defence against the erosion of civil liberties. Judges have a lot of methods to enhance and protect civil liberties. Judicial review is an important example of these powers and can have a great impact on the organs of government and public bodies. Although the Human Rights act is not binding on Westminster it remains an important tool in tackling the erosion of civil liberties and provides judges with a codified set of rules to back up rulings. In recent decades I think more power has been given to the judiciary in being able to protect the civil liberties of citizens in the UK. Citizens have a clearer sense of their rights and freedoms than ever before and are able to take the necessary routes in ensuring that they receive these rights. Although parliamentary sovereignty remains an important part of the constitution the judiciary is able to hold government to account and pressurise them to protect civil liberties in the UK. Kate Manson Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays


    The House of Lords are, in most cases, subordinate to the House of Commons. Moreover, the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 states that the Lords cannot veto legislation introduced in the Commons, but it does have the right to delay.

  2. Does Hobbes's Sovereign or Locke's Civil Government provide better protection for the citizen?

    clarity of where the authority of the state is, results will probably have led to riots, or even a civil war. Absolutism seemed the only possible solution. Would a normal Democratically elected government be able to deal with such problems?

  1. Public Law

    This however would cause a political upheaval if it was done without backing, and is thus purely a theoretical possibility. It is also questionable the amount to which Factortame changed the principles put forward earlier in Macarthays, as many critics perceive that the court didn't deal with the issue well

  2. Public Law

    for they elect the party whose policies meet their demands the most, giving them the power to govern them and hence enforcing their social demands. If the government does not meet these demands, or deviates from their role, the "power devolve back into the hands of those who gave it", ie.

  1. Asylum seekers

    * There may be geographical hardship in the region such as flooding or drought. This is a less common factor for refugees and relatively few of them come to the UK choosing instead to go to neighbouring countries.

  2. Shifting blame for Home Office mistakes in dealing with asylum seekers

    But now it can be argued that Special Advisers have more power than before in that they can commission work on their own account, and not just on behalf of Ministers. In the modern context Civil Servants now serve Special Advisers as well as Ministers.4 Constitutionally, civil servants are accountable

  1. Have Prior Reforms Of The Lords Been Effective And Can Anything Further Be Done ...

    A further selected ten were appointed as life peers in the aftermath, by the prime minister himself. The 92 that survived with their titles where chosen via elections amongst the peers themselves. Each hereditary peer who wished to stay submitted a 75 word manifesto stating why they wished to remain a part of the Lords (Guardian.co.uk April 2003 (Lords Reform)).

  2. Asylum seekers.

    If they are caught coming into the country, the illegal immigrant can make a verbal claim that they are seeking asylum. Any person found smuggling an illegal immigrant can be fined. Asylum seekers apply to the Home Office for residency in the country.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work