Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Rule Of Law - Are Our Judges Independent?

The Family Story, at pp 191, 192:

“The keystone of the rule of law in England has been the independence of the Judges. It is the only respect in which we make any real separation of powers. There is here no rigid separation between the legislative and the executive powers, because the ministers, who exercise the executive power, also direct a great deal of the legislative power of Parliament. But the judicial power is truly separate. The judges for nearly 300 years have been absolutely independent. And when I speak of Judges, I include not only the High Court Judges, but also all the Magistrates and others who exercise judicial functions. No member of the government, no member of Parliament, and no official of any government department, has any right whatever to direct or to influence or to interfere with the decisions of any of the Judges. It is the sure knowledge of this that gives the people their confidence in the judges, and I would add also the chairman of tribunals when they are independent of the executive, for then they too are judges. It does not depend on the name Judge or Chairman but on the substance. The critical test which they must pass if they are to receive the confidence of the people is that they must be independent of the executive.”

Lord Denning

No comments: