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The BlackBeltBarrister reports that our over-reaching administration, not content perhaps with the destruction already wrought on our constitutional checks and balances, now intends to review the decisions of the Courts with a view to undoing those that they don't like.

Now, it used to be that the Courts effectively reported to the then highest Court in the land, the House of Lords - until one Tony Blair decided that we needed to reform that situation, resulting in the establishment of our Supreme Court. 

So the historical precedent is that the courts did report to parliamentary supervision (whatever the drawbacks of that particular arrangement may have been).

Now I have not read the report in the Times (I prefer not to pay for warped news) so I cannot verify if this commentator's assertions about the government's alleged intentions are true, but it's probably useful to rehearse some of the constitutional issues here.

Parliament is our legislature - they create our laws (or rather, they create their laws as statute laws - as distinct from Common Law, which takes precedence).

If we accept that parliament represents the will of the people (a big 'if' currently) then it is perfectly reasonable that parliament should review the way in which the Courts have interpreted the statute laws that they passed, to ensure that the laws of unintended consequences have not run riot through the Courts since.

The government however (although ministers are traditionally selected from members of Parliament) is separate from Parliament - indeed, one of the roles of Parliament is to hold the executive to account on behalf of the people. Therefore it would not be appropriate for the government to comment upon the decisions of the Courts, otherwise the legal principle that "be you never so high, the law is above you" would be breached and the Courts might find it difficult to rule against the government position in cases where the government has an interest.

So finally, whilst I don't necessarily agree with the exact thesis presented in this video, I do think that this situation is potentially serious and requires further clarification.

See what you think:

(5 minutes)


Like / Dislike this video here.