The judiciary in the UK legal system has evolved significantly over time. From the early common law system to the present-day constitutional framework, the role of the judiciary in the UK legal system has undergone several changes. This journal discusses the changes that the judiciary has undergone over the years and the role it plays in the UK legal system today.
Early Common Law System
The common law system was introduced in the UK in the 12th century, during the reign of Henry II. The system replaced the previous feudal law system and was characterized by the development of case law. Under this system, judges were responsible for interpreting the law and developing a body of legal principles based on the precedents set by previous cases.
During this time, the judiciary played a crucial role in shaping the legal system through their decisions. Judges were often appointed from the ranks of the nobility, and their decisions reflected the values and interests of their social class. As a result, the common law system was often criticized for being biased towards the wealthy and powerful.
The Role of the Judiciary in the 19th Century
The 19th century saw significant developments in the role of the judiciary in the UK legal system. The judiciary became more independent, and the separation of powers between the three branches of government became more defined. This independence was reflected in the appointment of judges, who were now appointed through an impartial merit-based system.
The judiciary during this time was also responsible for interpreting and applying legislation, which had become an increasingly important part of the legal system. In addition, the judiciary played a crucial role in protecting individual rights, as seen in the landmark case of Entick v. Carrington (1765), which established the principle of the “writ of habeas corpus” and protected citizens from arbitrary detention.
The Role of the Judiciary in the 20th Century
The 20th century saw further developments in the role of the judiciary in the UK legal system. The judiciary became more accountable to the public, with the creation of the Supreme Court in 2009. The Court replaced the House of Lords as the final court of appeal and was intended to be independent of the legislative and executive branches of government.
The judiciary during this time also played a crucial role in protecting human rights, as seen in the Human Rights Act of 1998. The Act incorporated the European Convention of Human Rights into UK law, which gave citizens the right to challenge laws that were in breach of their human rights.
The Role of the Judiciary Today
Today, the judiciary plays a crucial role in the UK legal system. It is responsible for interpreting and applying the law, resolving disputes between individuals and organizations, and protecting individual rights. Furthermore, the judiciary has become more accessible to the public through the use of technology, such as online court systems.
One of the most significant developments in the role of the judiciary in recent years has been the increased focus on diversity and inclusion. There is now a greater emphasis on appointing judges from a diverse range of backgrounds, which has led to a more representative judiciary.
The role of the judiciary in the UK legal system has evolved significantly over time. From the early common law system to the present-day constitutional framework, the judiciary has played a crucial role in shaping the legal system and protecting individual rights. While there have been criticisms of the judiciary, such as bias towards the wealthy and powerful, the judiciary today is accountable to the public and operates with more transparency and impartiality. The future of the judiciary will undoubtedly continue to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of society.