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.

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.

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.


Latest Blogs


The Queen’s Speech and Public Protest: The Government is not clamping down on the right to protest but rather on the deliberate disruption of the public square by small groups of privileged activists

The Queen’s Speech and Public Protest: The Government is not clamping down on the right to protest but rather on the deliberate disruption of the public square by small groups of privileged activists

The UK has a small but determined environmentalist movement characterised by its appetite for popular protest – and the diversity of its tactics. In the last twelve months these have ranged from the Tyre Extinguishers group letting down the tyres of private motor vehicles, Insulate Britain attempting to close the M25, Extinction Rebellion blockading Oxford Circus with a giant pink table, to Just Stop Oil protestors tying themselves to the goalposts during Premier League football matches.

read more
The Queen’s Speech and Levelling Up: Anyone for Governor of Wessex?

The Queen’s Speech and Levelling Up: Anyone for Governor of Wessex?

The Bill covers a huge range of policy space, similar to the Levelling Up White Paper tabled in February. In fact, many of the proposals are those put forward in the White Paper. For example, there will be a requirement for the Government to release annual reports on the Levelling Up “missions”, creating a framework to devolve power through ‘devolution deals’ in every part of the country by 2030, and greater local input in planning. The Government will also use the bill to reform how local infrastructure is funded by a new “infrastructure levy” which will give local communities more input in how the money is spent, compared to the existing Section 106 process.

read more

Latest Publications


The Queen’s Speech and Public Protest: The Government is not clamping down on the right to protest but rather on the deliberate disruption of the public square by small groups of privileged activists

The Queen’s Speech and Public Protest: The Government is not clamping down on the right to protest but rather on the deliberate disruption of the public square by small groups of privileged activists

The UK has a small but determined environmentalist movement characterised by its appetite for popular protest – and the diversity of its tactics. In the last twelve months these have ranged from the Tyre Extinguishers group letting down the tyres of private motor vehicles, Insulate Britain attempting to close the M25, Extinction Rebellion blockading Oxford Circus with a giant pink table, to Just Stop Oil protestors tying themselves to the goalposts during Premier League football matches.

read more
The Queen’s Speech and Levelling Up: Anyone for Governor of Wessex?

The Queen’s Speech and Levelling Up: Anyone for Governor of Wessex?

The Bill covers a huge range of policy space, similar to the Levelling Up White Paper tabled in February. In fact, many of the proposals are those put forward in the White Paper. For example, there will be a requirement for the Government to release annual reports on the Levelling Up “missions”, creating a framework to devolve power through ‘devolution deals’ in every part of the country by 2030, and greater local input in planning. The Government will also use the bill to reform how local infrastructure is funded by a new “infrastructure levy” which will give local communities more input in how the money is spent, compared to the existing Section 106 process.

read more

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

We’re seeing a shift under Gove in housing policy from quantity to quality

There are very few national crises where there is a political incentive for them to be both solved and sustained – but housing, unfortunately is one. The reasons for wishing to solve the housing crisis are obvious: lack of housing supply and chronic unaffordability in London and the south east, oversupply and depressed construction activity in the North, a generation of young people locked out of the housing market, spiralling rents and mortgages claiming a disproportionate portion of household incomes and contracting consumer spending and all the damaging social and electoral consequences therein.

Ministers have an opportunity to cut taxes, drive supply side reform – and help reduce the cost of living

“My Government’s priority is to grow and strengthen the economy and help ease the cost of living for families.” These opening two lines of the Queen’s Speech provided a powerful message.

Further action is needed to address the cost of living crisis. Also, those affected are not just families, but the vast bulk of households that are being squeezed. If the Government doesn’t appreciate this, then it may have its work cut out.

The deteriorating politics of Northern Ireland has left the Government with no option other than to act on the Protocol

The Northern Ireland Protocol once again threatens to derail the UK-EU relationship. After months of talks between London and Brussels failed to reach mutually acceptable solutions, the Government has reached the conclusion it has no alternative but to start the process of introducing domestic legislation to alter the Protocol.

The Queen’s Speech and Public Protest: The Government is not clamping down on the right to protest but rather on the deliberate disruption of the public square by small groups of privileged activists

The UK has a small but determined environmentalist movement characterised by its appetite for popular protest – and the diversity of its tactics. In the last twelve months these have ranged from the Tyre Extinguishers group letting down the tyres of private motor vehicles, Insulate Britain attempting to close the M25, Extinction Rebellion blockading Oxford Circus with a giant pink table, to Just Stop Oil protestors tying themselves to the goalposts during Premier League football matches.

The Queen’s Speech and Levelling Up: Anyone for Governor of Wessex?

The Bill covers a huge range of policy space, similar to the Levelling Up White Paper tabled in February. In fact, many of the proposals are those put forward in the White Paper. For example, there will be a requirement for the Government to release annual reports on the Levelling Up “missions”, creating a framework to devolve power through ‘devolution deals’ in every part of the country by 2030, and greater local input in planning. The Government will also use the bill to reform how local infrastructure is funded by a new “infrastructure levy” which will give local communities more input in how the money is spent, compared to the existing Section 106 process.

The Queen’s Speech and Deregulation: Who will regulate the regulators? Time for more parliamentary scrutiny

The Government confirmed it will introduce a Brexit Freedoms Bill, first announced by the Prime Minister in January 2022. Plans for the Bill were set out in The benefits of Brexit white paper, which outlined the Government’s broad ambition to make the UK the “best regulated economy in the world”. The Bill will remove the supremacy of EU law and make it easier for Ministers to amend, repeal, or replace retained EU law.

The Queen’s Speech and Health & Social Care Reform: What was not announced may be more significant than what was announced

The passage of the centrepiece Health and Care Act during the previous session of this Parliament meant that this year’s Queen Speech had a smaller offering for health and social care. A number of priority commitments set out in March as part of the Annual Mandate (which sets out the Government’s priorities for the NHS) were repeated. The priorities are well understood: bring down the elective waiting list; deliver additional diagnostic capacity, including 100 community diagnostic centres; and make progress on the hospital building programme.

The Queen’s Speech and Judicial Power: Could the British Bill of Rights make things worse?

The headline measure is the proposed British Bill of Rights, which would supersede the Human Rights Act. A perennial proposal most recently floated under David Cameron, the Bill’s stated aim is to restore “the balance of power between the legislature and the courts”. Among its main provisions are the establishment of the primacy of UK case law over that of the European Court of Human Rights, new limitations on courts’ ability to “read in” provisions that are not present in legislation, and a new burden on the claimant to prove they have suffered “significant disadvantage” before they can bring a human rights claim, with the aim of discouraging frivolous litigation.

The Queen’s Speech and Housing: Will Street Votes solve the Housing Crisis?

Housing has rarely enjoyed as high a political profile as it does today. A combination of the housing crisis, the abandoned planning bill, the government’s flagship levelling-up programme and it being led by one of the highest profile Cabinet Ministers Michael Gove as well as a slew of recent Tory electoral punishments in which housing was thought to have played a central role have all ensured that housing is now a major part of the government’s legislative infrastructure. So it assumed a pivotal role in this week’s Queen’s Speech, ironically delivered for the first time by a Prince of Wales who himself has had a profound impact on the UK’s architecture and urban development landscape over the past forty years.

Losing in London is not just a political problem, it’s an economic one too

The Conservatives look set to have their worst result in London in London since its current boroughs were created in 1964, and it is now the first time the Conservatives have only controlled one council in central London. What had once been a major urban area relatively immune to complete Labour dominance looks set to join Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle in having little, or no, Conservative representation.

Latest Publications

How to Reform Judicial Review

This paper is the text of Policy Exchange’s response to the Government’s Consultation on Judicial Review Reform. It builds on submissions made by Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project to the Independent Review on Administrative Law (one written by me, the other by Sir Stephen Laws), which were quoted in the Panel’s report and in the Government’s Response.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill: myth and reality

This paper examines some of the criticisms offered against part 3 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. It finds, in summary, that most of these are misplaced or overblown. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill can certainly be improved and even if it does not prove, if enacted, to be the boon hoped for, it is certainly not the instrument of repression conjured up to alarm us.

Prejudging the transgender controversy?

Transgenderism is the focus of vigorous public debate at present. Questions as to the relative significance of gender identity and physical sex and what it means to be trans are at the heart of arguments about whether transwomen should compete as women in sports, whether medical intervention is appropriate for young teenagers who don’t identify with their sex, who should be in women’s prisons and how public debate should be conducted. The courts are increasingly asked to grapple with these questions. However, guidance produced by the Judicial College is surprisingly committed to some of the ideas and claims that are in dispute.

Latest Blogs

The significance of the Supreme Court’s Begum judgment

In allowing the Home Secretary’s appeal in the Begum case, the Supreme Court has corrected a misconceived Court of Appeal judgment, which had put national security in doubt and undermined the law Parliament made.  The Supreme Court’s judgment is a powerful and welcome, if somewhat overdue, affirmation of constitutional principle and the limits of judicial power.

The difference leaving the House of Lords has made

Nomen omen – but not always. The High Courts and Courts of Appeal in England and Northern Ireland formed part of the Supreme Court of Judicature before the coming into force of the Constitution Reform Act 2005 and, by and large, there was never a widespread sense of these Courts unduly throwing their weight around. Had they done so, no doubt the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords would have restored matters to their proper bounds.

The problem of judicial diversity

In Reforming the Supreme Court, Professor Wyatt and Professor Ekins have produced a thoughtful contribution to the ongoing scholarly debate on the correct limits to judicial power; a debate which is, and always has been, driven by political rather than legal priorities. From the 1970s to the 1990s claims of judicial overreach in the UK were made primarily by those on the left such as JAG Griffith, Conor Gearty and Keith Ewing. Their objections to judicial power were underpinned by their views of the judiciary as an instrument of the establishment blocking workers’ rights and undermining civil liberties. After the enactment of the Human Rights Act in 1998, which Ekins rightly identifies as a key moment in changing judicial culture, these critical voices were more muted and concerns about the improper exercise of judicial power were increasingly raised by those on the right. Most recently they have been taken up by the Judicial Power Project.

Latest News

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

and

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.

Latest Events

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