Judicial Capture of Political Accountability


Judicial Capture of Political Accountability examines the increasing capture of political accountability mechanisms by courts. It focuses upon developments in judicial review of the Ombudsman process, and shows how these developments are emblematic of wider, troubling trends that are plunging judicial review into a legitimacy crisis.

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Judicial Power: 50 Problematic Cases


With help from colleagues in the academy and legal profession, the Judicial Power Project presents a list of 50 “problematic” cases from UK and European courts.

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Judging the Public Interest: The rule of law vs. the rule of courts


Judging the Public Interest examines the Supreme Court’s quashing of the Attorney General’s decision to block disclosure of the Prince of Wales’ correspondence with ministers. The report argues that, in doing so, the judiciary confused the rule of law with the rule of courts and overstepped its constitutional limits. It recommends that Parliament act swiftly to overturn this wayward judgment, reaffirming the rule of law and Parliamentary authority.

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Latest Publications

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Latest Events

“Staying the course: managing challenges to UK energy policy”

Policy Exchange host a discuss on the scale and pace of change needed for the UK to achieve its future decarbonisation goals. read more

Latest Events

Governing Power: Improving the administration of the GB energy industry

Policy Exchange hosts a discussion on how our energy industry are markets are run. read more

Upcoming Event

Rethinking CO2: how can we put it to use?

Policy Exchange hosts the Rt Hon Lord Deben PC and others to discuss the potential of Carbon Capture and Use technologies. read more

Judicial Policy Project

HMS Queen Elizabeth

Beware excessive “declinism” – we’re putting more money into UK defence but American warnings must also be heeded

Policy Exchanges Gabriel Elefteriu warns ahead of the Budget that we should beware the declinist narrative that too often pervades discussion of UK defence capability. He cautions this can too often verge on a self-fulfilling prophesy and we should acknowledge that the Government is now increasing defence spending. Equally, it is important that American warnings are headed, particularly on the retention of specific capabilities.
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‘Without sound finance, you cannot have a strong economy with which to fund public services’ – the moral the Chancellor should choose for his Budget

Policy Exchange's Research Fellow in Economics, Mike Taylor, sets out the guiding principles with which to judge the Autumn Budget. Highlighting the importance of fiscal sustainability, Mike cautions those seeking to use the Japanese experience to justify higher borrowing, pointing out the limits of any comparison with the UK.
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Northern Ireland

A sensible deal on the Northern Ireland border is very achievable – Brussels and Dublin should stop playing games.

Policy Exchange's Chief Economic Adviser, Dr Graham Gudgin, sets out how a workable deal on the Northern Ireland border could be delivered - without the return of a 'hard border'. He says that the Irish Government and European Commission are using the issue for short-term political gain. ​
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Housing market

Money alone will not fix the housing market

Ahead of the Budget, Policy Exchange’s Head of Housing and Urban Regeneration Susan Emmett wrote for Huffington Post about how “Money alone will not fix the housing market”. She says “Local backing for developments is more likely if they have regard to the aesthetics and impact on local infrastructure” and calls for “consistent direction, not only from Whitehall but also from all levels of government up and down the country”.
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The Chancellor should refuse new funding for schools

The Chancellor should not give in to the temptation to “give what amounts to protection money to the union lobby” and increase school funding in next week’s Budget, argues Policy Exchange’s Head of Education and Social Reform John Blake in the Times. “We can have world-leading schools without breaking the bank, but not if our school system believes there will always be more money whatever happens.”
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The return of the internationalists? Unpacking Labour’s position on foreign policy.

Last week, Chuka Umunna spoke to Chatham House in a much-needed intervention on the state of British foreign policy. In recent years, the British foreign policy debate has not kept up with the pace of global political and economic change. For that reason alone, there was much to commend in Umunna’s sense of urgency. To adapt to the challenges of the twenty-first century, as he put it, “we need to look ahead and develop a proper national strategy on the basis of a clear understanding of what our interests are”.
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Two million face a mortgage rate rise – it should have been sooner

Today’s quarter point rise in interest rates by the Monetary Policy of the Bank of England is notable as the first increase in ten years. But at 0.5% Bank Rate is still at extremely low levels. Indeed today’s move merely reverses last August’s quarter point cut, which was an easing of policy designed to help offset the anticipated slowdown in growth following the EU referendum result. Given that by the end of last year it was clear that the economy was actually in fairly good shape it would have been prudent to have reversed this last rate reduction several months ago. But it is better late than never.
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The Helm Cost of Energy Review: the invisible hand versus the activist state

Matthew Rooney, Energy and Environment Research Fellow at Policy Exchange, responds to Dieter Helm’s recent Cost of Energy Review. The review, commissioned by the Government and released last week, sparked much debate online. The main dividing line, Rooney explains, is between those who believe that an activist state and large subsidies for renewable energy deployment are necessary to bring down costs, and those who think the Government’s main role is to create a level playing field for low carbon technologies to compete without subsidy. Helm’s big idea is a carbon tax with border carbon adjustments. Could that work and what are its potential benefits?
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Universal Credit and the big labour market questions the UK needs to consider

Warwick Lightfoot, Head of the Economics Unit, argues that the controversy over the introduction of Universal Credit is an opportunity to revisit the fundamentals of a modern, market-friendly benefit system. At present benefits extend too far up the income distribution, damaging incentives and productivity as benefit withdrawal pushes effective marginal tax rates to extreme levels. In addition, greater regional variation in benefits, to take account of local labour market conditions, would be a major improvement.
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Clean Growth

The Clean Growth Strategy: worth the wait?

Policy Exchange's Energy and Environment Research Fellows, Matthew Rooney and Joshua Burke, respond to the Government's Clean Growth Strategy. The long awaited strategy document detailing how the UK will meet their emissions reductions targets was published on Thursday. In it there is positive news for onshore wind, nuclear power and the hydrogen economy, whilst fracking is a notable absence. A next big decision for the Government to make is whether the UK will remain in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Policy Exchange are currently conducting research into the potential benefits of leaving the scheme and implementing a British carbon tax system.
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Latest Publications

Clearing the Fog of Law: Saving our armed forces from defeat by judicial diktat

Clearing the Fog of Law shows that misguided human rights laws mean British troops operating in the heat of battle are now being held to the same standard as police officers patrolling the streets on a Saturday night in the West End. The report calls for British forces to operate under the rules of the Geneva Conventions, rather than the ECHR, in future conflicts.

The Stubborn Stain Theory of Executive Power

In November 2016, days before the Supreme Court hearing in the Miller case, Professor Timothy Endicott (University of Oxford) delivered a lecture for Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project on the royal prerogative. Reflecting its weight and importance, the lecture was relied on by the Government’s lawyers. Today, the Judicial Power Project publishes a revised and updated version of Professor Endicott’s lecture, with a foreword by Professor Sir Ross Cranston, recently retired from the High Court bench and former Solicitor General.

Administrative Justice and the Parliament Square Axis

In a new paper for Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, Professor Carol Harlow QC (Hon) looks at the problem of the judicialisation of administrative justice. After a homeless refugee turned down a flat on the grounds that the shape of its windows remind her of the prison in Iran where she was tortured, a housing officer concluded that this ended the local authority’s obligation to house her. That decision was then reviewed by one county court judge, three Court of Appeal judges, and five Supreme Court justices. The Supreme Court’s involvement was necessary to rebuff attempts by the European Court of Human Rights to judicialise administrative law and practice. Professor Harlow’s paper commends the Supreme Court’s approach, arguing that it shows how domestic judges and lawmakers can form a “Parliament Square Axis” to limit European judicial overreach.

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Latest Blogs

Latest Supreme Court judgment shows why the EU Charter must be axed.

The Supreme Court has today used vague provisions in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to disapply an Act of Parliament. This outcome is impossible under ordinary human rights law and confirms the danger the Charter poses to parliamentary democracy. The Court passed up the opportunity to consider limits on the Charter’s application and the case confirms the need to end the Charter’s place in domestic law after the UK leaves the EU.

Brexit Committee questions Ekins and Laws on legal and constitutional aspects

The Head of Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, Professor Richard Ekins, gave evidence to the House of Common’s Brexit Select Committee alongside regular JPP contributor, Sir Stephen Laws, former First Parliamentary Counsel. Rebecca Lowe, Policy Exchange’s State & Society and Judicial Power Project (JPP) Fellow, reports on the hearing, which focused initially on the constitutional and legal aspects of the bill, before expanding to the Brexit process more widely, with questions ranging from the future role, if any, of the ECJ, to the provision that could be made for a ‘transition period’.

Will the UK’s new senior judge change the Supreme Court?

Richard Ekins and Graham Gee of Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project ask what the appointment of Lady Hale as President of the UK’s Supreme Court means for the law. Pointing out that ‘one should not overstate the importance of her new office’, and that she will retire no later than 2020, they explain that she is, nonetheless, taking up ‘an important public office, which she will discharge conscientiously and with good humour’, and that, from her long judicial service, it is clear that she adopts a ‘relatively expansive view of judicial power’.

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Latest News

The Times publishes letter on combat immunity by authors of Policy Exchange’s ‘Clearing the Fog of Law’ paper

In a letter published in The Times, the authors of Policy Exchange’s Clearing the Fog of Law paper address the President of the Law Society’s misplaced criticism of government proposals to revive combat immunity. The point of the proposals is to restore the law as it stood before the landmark decision of Smith & Others v Ministry of Defence and thus to beat back the judicialisation of war. The Law Society is wrong to say that this is an attack on compensation or accountability.

Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project responds to Government paper on European Court of Justice post-Brexit

Policy Exchange's Judicial Power Project responded to the paper released by the Government on leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice after Brexit. Visiting Fellow Dr Gunnar Beck writes in The Telegraph and Professor Richard Ekins, head of the Judicial Power Project, writes in The Spectator, while Senior Fellow Christopher Forsyth writes for CapX and Richard and Gunnar for ConservativeHome.

Policy Exchange Judicial Power Project’s letter to Financial Times Editor published

Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project Head, Professor Richard Ekins and Professor Graham Gee wrote to the Financial Times in responce to a recent editorial, ‘Brexit places Britain’s judges in the line of fire’, explaining that it wrongly states that refusal to concede a continuing role for the European Court of Justice after Brexit creates a predicament for UK judges. Their letter, entitled ‘UK judges’ future looks robust, not fragile’ was published in the paper and online.

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Latest Events

Criticism and Accountability in Judging

Nov 28, 2016

This event was held at Policy Exchange on Monday 28 November, and featured Rt Hon Lord Hope of Craighead, Rt Hon Lord Howard of Lympne, Charles Moore, Joshua Rosenberg, and Professor Graham Gee

Brexit and Judicial Power

Jul 21, 2016

Policy Exchange hosts Dr Geoff Raby, former Australian Ambassador to China and to the World Trade Organisation, to discuss how a post-Brexit UK can negotiate trade deals around world.

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RT @James7Holland A sensible deal on the Northern Ireland border is very achievable – Brussels and Dublin should stop playing games writes Graham Gudgin of @Policy_Exchange policyexchange.org.u…

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