Course of History

Judicial Supremacy

Judicial Supremacy

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Judicial supremacy remains a key issue within the whole spectrum of the judiciary. It would be easy to view the senior law lords as being supreme in British politics. This would not be so, however. Any legal ruling by a judge, judges, law lords etc. can be overturned by an Act of Parliament. This means that, despite a probable time delay, the power of a democratically elected body can exercise its authority over the judiciary. Also, any ruling by judges is only effective if it is accepted by both the government and the people. At present, this is done as a convention - judges have no way of enforcing this. What if the government actively ignored a judicial ruling as it did not agree with it? What would judges do then?

Also judges themselves ruled that UK law is subservient to EU law as a result of the Factortame ruling in the House of Lords. In this instance, the judicial authorities in the UK ruled that their position at a full legal level was inferior to that of the law decided within the European Union.


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