Using Source B and your own knowledge, on what grounds has the judicial system been criticised in recent years? In theory judges are neutral and independent. Judges are considered to be fair and unbiased. The government to head investigations often uses them where the government wants an unbiased outcome. However their neutrality is criticised because the Lord Chancellor, who in turn is chosen by the PM for his political persuasions, appoints all judges. This enables the government to gain a foothold in the courts by appointing a Lord Chancellor with the same views and ideologies that their party has.
This then works well to expressing their views through the court on sentencing and appeals, whether it be in the court of appeal or in local courts. Judges tend to be a very homogenous (same/similar) group. They come from an upper class background and tend to be white, male and elderly. Even when making judgements, which are seen as fair, they may have an unconscious bias to their own class and protection of property. Judges generally do not understand the living culture of other classes; therefore can be generally nicer to people of his own class.
However, as time has gone on judges are being recruited from a much wider background. There are more women, more ethnic groups and a wider social background but still when we look at Source B there is still a larger number of men in the courts than women. In the "Lords of Appeal in Ordinary" there are no women members but there are twelve men members. In total in the high courts and the lords there are one hundred and forty five men and just eight women. As we can see there is some way to go before the judicial system can be seen as neutral.
In order for judges to be independent they must be free from pressure so they can make judgments, which are fair. There are number of ways in which this is guaranteed. Judges are appointed for life and cannot be sacked unless both Houses of Parliament agree. They are secure: they know that whatever they decide – no one is going to sack them. They are paid high salaries so they cannot be bribe but some people see this as too high for example using Source B the average wage for a judge is around one hundred thousand pounds. People argue that this is too higher wage to pay for someone who just rules on other people's behalf.
Judges are members of the H of L and therefore make laws They are chosen in secret by the Lord Chancellor – it is not known why he chooses certain judges. Many people believe that this is on the influence of the PM so that he can influence the courts. Judges today are much more independent – they give interviews and write articles criticizing the government, in particular over their legal policy. One thing they criticise the government about is "mandatory sentencing". What proposals have been put forward by the labour government for the reform of the judicial system?
The cost of legal aid has soared in the last ten years, and solicitors often charge i?? 100 an hour to hire, with barristers costing even more. Even though citizens who cannot afford these rates may be entitled to free legal aid, a lot of people simply don't bother because the time and cost impediments cause more trouble than the case itself. There is great competition between solicitors firms for business, and many people think that the more a solicitor costs, the better the quality of advice is, which is not always the case.
Even though the 'no win, no fee' formats introduced to solicitors by the Lord Chancellor are unjust, as the firms tend to take most of the compensation as legal fees. Another reason, which may suggest a need for a reform, is the fact that British judges are un-elected and so are undemocratic. The present system is not only elitist, but it favours white, middle class, well educated males, proving that it can be a racist, sexist, class discriminating system. The public has no choice in deciding who judges and adjourns various cases.
A less distinguished point that criticises the UK judicial system is the number of scandals involving Freemasons and other 'secret clubs' in the structure. Two successive governments have conducted three formal inquiries on the extent of corruption by Freemasons in the judicial system and in municipal government. The government inquiries concluded that Freemasonry was having a negative effect on justice in the UK and recommended that is should be made a declarable interest so that all Freemasons publicly register if they are Judges, police officers, Magistrates, prosecutors, Crown Officers, Prison guards or parole officers.
Only a small number of Freemasons have actually come forward, which would suggest that they might see themselves as being beyond and above the law. Presently, the court of final appeal lies in the House of Lords, and since Law Lords are selected and appointed by the un-elected Lord Chancellor, this court is undemocratic and could be accused of being biased. At present many people believe the House of Lords if dominated by Conservative favouring right-wingers, similar to the American supreme courts.
If we decided to adopt a Supreme Court as opposed to a court of final appeal in the Lords in Britain, unless it was elected the problem of possible bias would not be eradicated. The nine Supreme Court judges in the US were appointed by previous Presidents, and with seven favouring Republican ideology and only two opting for the Democrats, it is very unjust. An example of the possible unfairness could be the recent US presidential elections, where the Supreme Court voted Republican George W Bush as President as opposed to having another recount of voted which would have suited most Democrat supporters.
The head of the judicial system is the appointed Lord Chancellor, and even though this is a very important position, it is one of the least accountable ones. Therefore, the Lord Chancellor does not have to take responsibility for any mistakes or decisions. Even a replacement of the Lord Chancellor with a department of justice would have to be elected to eradicate unfairness, although a group of people would probably better than a single person in charge of the judicial system.
An example of the biased nature of the Lord Chancellor could be the case when the department headed by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, faced an accusation of sex discrimination from a woman solicitor. Jane Coker, a legal aid lawyer from north London, took the department to an industrial tribunal over the appointment of a man as Lord Irvine's special adviser. Coker's solicitor said that the Lord Chancellor had broken the law by not even offering the job to her, and instead appointing another man whom he had been friends with.
This is not the only report that criticises the Lord Chancellor; many different decisions has outraged people in the past, from the media when he suggested imposing bans on probing politicians to even Tony Blair. What are the main arguments against the bill of rights? The Human Rights Act was made law in October 2000, and this means that the European Convention on Human Rights is now incorporated into National Law. So far as is possible all legislation must be interpreted to give effect in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights.
The Human Rights Act 2000 sets out the British citizen's rights, ranging from the right to privacy to the right to move and stay in one's country. This is a benefit as now there will be more equality before the law; racist and sexist discrimination will be illegal, whether it is from individuals or companies. The Human Rights Act expands on the 1976 Race Relations Act, which made sure racial minorities were subject to the same policing and immigration methods as white people. Also, the Act expands on limiting religious, sexist and class discrimination, shown in 'the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion'.
The UK Human Rights Act will have more authority to protect citizens from individuals, groups or even the Government. For example, the Act will be able to deny access to parents who abuse their children as they are being denied 'the freedom from degrading treatment', and even protect adults from children with unacceptable behaviour; there are many child curfew laws and restraint orders being introduced at the moment. However, this may not be fully maintaining the offending children's parents' rights if their offspring is open to a series of treatments.