How Effectively Does the Judiciary Protect Civil Liberties in the Uk

1042 Words5 Pages
How effectively does the judiciary protect civil liberties in the UK? The UK judiciary has several methods at its disposal that provide an effective protection of civil liberties in the UK. However, in practice there are several shortcomings that make these protections weak in the face of Parliamentary pressure, which will be demonstrated in this essay. In terms of rights protections, perhaps the most important development in the protection of rights in the UK has been the installation of the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law via the Human Rights Act 1998. This act effectively has provided a concrete document that outlines the rights of citizens. Since the passing of this act, judges have been able rule more confidently based on the legislation rather than using complex declarations of the common law via precedents. The increased ease for judges and clarity for citizens has increased the effectiveness of rights protection by the judiciary because now the judiciary can use articles in the HR Act to rule in favour of individuals. For example, in the case of Catherine Zeta Jones v. Hello Magazine 2001, the court was able to rule clearly that the article 8 right to privacy outweighed the magazine's article 10 right to expression and thus Zeta Jones' wedding was allowed to remain private. This clearly shows an effective protection of liberty by judges. Furthermore, a vital protection of liberties can be exercised via judicial review. Judicial review is a process that is conducted in the Supreme Court that hears an appeal over lawfulness of a case. It is not focused on the rights and wrongs of a case, this would be a case for appeal courts following the above methods, judicial review is simply an examination of the lawfulness of a case. For example, in the case of Home Secretary v. AP 2010 an appeal allowing the government to detain AP on a control order
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