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Explain and comment on the importance of judicial independence.

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  • Essay length: 582 words
  • Submitted: 18/08/2003
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University Degree English Legal System

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2(b) Explain and comment on the importance of judicial independence.

In the English legal system the concept of judicial independence is of high regard. This is to ensure judges remain independent of pressure from the Government and other political groups and etc. It is argued without judicial independence a democracy and the law would not be able to function.

The theory of judicial independence was argued by 18th century French political theorist Montisquieu. He had an idea of checks and balances to safeguard individual liberties, to do so the power of the state is divided equally into 3 independent bodies (to prevent interference between them), the legislature, executive and judiciary. In the English legal system they are the Cabinet, Parliament and the Supreme Court (High court and Court of Appeal). This idea means as they are independent bodies each one can be checked and balanced by the other, resulting, in theory, a system of power sharing. Without this, Montisquieu said this would result in tyranny, e.g. Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia.

The separations of power can be witnessed in the following, tenure of office, judicial immunity from suit, immunity from parliamentary criticism and judicial review.

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