Supreme Court: Underpinning Principles

Supreme Court: Underpinning Principles

Rule of Law

  • The Supreme Court works under the principle of the rule of law, which includes everyone, no matter their position, is accountable under the law.
  • It ensures that laws are applied equally, impartially, and consistently in line with established legal principles.

Separation of Powers

  • The Supreme Court ensures the separation of powers, acting as a check on the power of both the executive (government) and the legislative (Parliament) branches.
  • This ensures that no one branch becomes too powerful and maintains the balance of power within the system of governance.

Judicial Independence

  • The principle of judicial independence is key. This means that judges are independent of the government or any other influence.
  • Their decisions are made entirely on the basis of law. This guarantees fairness and impartiality in the administration of justice.


  • The Supreme Court operates under the principle of precedent. This means that the decisions made in previous cases guide how future cases are decided.
  • This ensures consistency in law and builds a body of common law over time.

Judicial Review

  • Judicial review is another underpinning principle. It means the Supreme Court can review the legality of actions or decisions made by public bodies or the government.
  • This helps to ensure that public bodies act within their legal powers and respects individuals’ rights.

Constitutional Matters

  • The Supreme Court has the power to decide constitutional matters. It interprets the constitution and decides its meaning and the impact it will have on laws and individuals.
  • This can involve striking down laws that conflict with the constitution.