Supreme Court: Power

Supreme Court: Power

Role in Judicative Power

  • The Supreme Court is fundamentally a court of appeal. It’s the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, and for criminal cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, it does not have automatic appeal rights for criminal cases in Scotland.
  • The court hears cases of the utmost importance where it’s crucial to clarify the law.

Role in Constitutional Matters

  • The Supreme Court deals with critical issues affecting the constitution. It interprets and applies the law of the constitution.
  • This role was demonstrated when it found that Boris Johnson’s 2019 suspension of Parliament was unlawful as it had the effect of impairing Parliament’s capacity to legislate without reasonable justification.

Power of Judicial Review

  • Judicial review is a major function of the Supreme Court. It reviews the legality of decisions or actions by public bodies and lower courts.
  • The Supreme Court can declare a particular decision or an action as void if it’s found to be in conflict with a superior law.

Impact on UK Law

  • As the apex court in the UK, the decisions of the Supreme Court are binding on every other court in the hierarchy. This creates legal precedents.
  • However, the Supreme Court itself is not bound by its previous decisions. It’s authorised to overrule a prior decision when it appears to be wrong, ensuring justice and fairness.

Court’s Independence

  • The Supreme Court functions independently of the government, reinforcing the principle of separation of powers.
  • It ensures the checks and balances system by preventing any potential abuse of power by the government.