With all the kafuffle surrounding the triggering of Article 50 at the moment, it’s no surprise that the judiciary has become the subject of much debate. But what is the judiciary, and what do they do? Never fear – we’ve put it simply.
The judicial branch of government is part of the UK’s ‘separation of powers,’ which splits the decision making and legislating process up, so as to ensure that government doesn’t have too much power, and that bills can be properly and effectively scrutinised before becoming law. The other branches are the legislative, and the executive.
The role of the judicial system is to interpret the laws created and enforced by the legislative and executive branches. The reason the judiciary is in the news so much at the moment is because of dispute over the interpretation of Article 50 – namely whether MPs should have a say in whether the government can trigger it, and when.
Because the government lost their case on first hearing (Theresa May’s government don’t think MPs should be able to influence her decision) their appeal has taken the case to the Supreme Court – which is entirely different from the Supreme Court in the USA. The Supreme Court in the USA has a huge amount of power and can turn down legislation if it is thought to be ‘unconstitutional.’ In the UK, the Supreme Court is simply the last court for appeals.
Liz Truss, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, has come under fire for not openly and strongly defending the independence of the judiciary to make decisions not in line with government policy. The arguments for and against the actions of the courts are passionate: the value of the judiciary in the system of checks on government power, versus the idea that courts are trying to “stifle the will of the people” which led to the initial Brexit vote.
Where do you stand? Is the judiciary justified in putting this road block in front of the Leave camp? Any questions, get in touch! #LetsTalkPolitics