Judges and Religion Essay

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1. Introduction The main function of the judiciary is the administration of justice. According to Dworkin, the traditional role of a judge is to act in accordance with the law by interpreting and applying them to particular circumstances. However, as seen in the two prescribed cases, this purist approach is no longer sufficient due to the increasing degree of complexity of cases where religious freedom is intertwined with issues of public policy, of which may have political implications. Religious freedom can be defined as the free choice of an individual, in public or private, to manifest belief, practice, worship and observe a religion. This concept, which includes the freedom to change religion or not to follow any at all remains an important fundamental human right. Hence, in addition to the traditional function of the judiciary, judges strive to 'protect the rights and freedoms of others, and to preserve true religious pluralism’, necessary in a democratic society. This essay is therefore in qualified agreement with the question statement. With focus on the two prescribed cases, this essay submits that judges are ideally placed because: Firstly, the court system is the most appropriate course of redress with judges as the main protector of fundamental rights. Secondly, judges have already been addressing difficult issues of religious freedom duly and judiciously, making them ideal in dealing with such complex issues. This essay will then conclude that judges, by exercising a degree of pragmatism and employing the use of certain judicial instrument such as the margin of appreciation, are ideally placed to deal with complex issues that involve religion. 2. Judges as main protector of human rights In the United Kingdom(UK), the Judicial Appointments Commission is responsible for selecting judges. Judges are not elected but appointed, through statutory

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