To what extent is there conflict in the UK between judges and government ministers

 

There are strong arguments both for and against the idea that there is conflict between judges and government minsters. Some of the arguments for this include the increase in number of judicial reviews, the introduction of the Human Rights Act, the arguments over sentencing policy, and the fact that judges are increasingly speaking out against judicial decisions. Some of the arguments against this include the creation of the Supreme Court, the fact that judges are independent and neutral, judges knowledge that they cannot overturn parliamentary legislation and that judges cannot be proactive.

This essay will consider both sides of the argument, and conclude that there is conflict to a SMALL/LARGE extent. Firstly, it can be argued that there is conflict between judges and government ministers as there has been a large increase in the number of judicial reviews being accepted by judges. The increase in numbers of judicial reviews accepted has gone from 160 in the year 1975, to 11,200 in the year 2011. This creates conflict and tension between judges and ministers as it means that the judges are becoming more willing to accept cases that are against the government, and could overrule government decisions.

An example of judges overruling ministers through judicial review is the Belmarsh case in 2004, in which the court in the House of Lords ruled the government has detained nine suspected terrorists unlawfully. This shows that there is conflict as ministers are unhappy with judges overruling decisions that they have made. Another argument that shows there is conflict between judges and government minsters is that EU law is superior to British made law. This means that any government legislation that does not coincide with EU law, will not stand up in the European Court, so.