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

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.

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

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.

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

Hostility crime and the Law Commission

The Law Commission intends to report later this year with proposals in relation to what are, incorrectly, called ‘hate crimes’. This follows a consultation which closed on Christmas Eve 2020. This paper argues that the consultation was flawed and there are reasonable grounds to conclude that it breached the Cabinet Office Consultation Principles 2018. In addition, analysis of the consultation’s failings raises issues concerning the role of the Law Commission in the process of general policy-formation, as opposed to technical law reform.

Immigration, Strasbourg, and Judicial Overreach

and

This paper traces the history of several judicially demanded or created obstacles to preventing unlawful entry or removing illegal migrants. The decisions to create these obstacles, it argues, were well-motivated but unauthorised and even unprincipled. This is a story in which European courts and our own courts all have a part.

Latest Blogs

Further thoughts on Supreme Court reform

In our recent paper, Reforming the Supreme Court, Professor Wyatt and I discussed the merits of his proposal to authorise changing panels of Court of Appeal judges to act as the apex appellate court.  I noted that my initial view had been that the proposal was too bold, and that it might undermine an important feature of any legal system, which is a stable appellate hierarchy.  However, there was clearly much to be said for the proposal, and by way of a series of tentative comments and questions I set out to elaborate and test its merits, concluding that it was an attractive and interesting proposal worthy of serious further consideration.  The paper’s publication has generated public discussion, with legal commentators, including Joshua Rozenberg QC (Hon) and Jonathan Fisher QC, for the Society of Conservative Lawyers, addressing its merits in some detail.  The government’s plans for reform, at least as reported, may also owe something to the paper’s reflections. 

Reflections on Reform of the UK Supreme Court

This paper is a sequel to the earlier one published by Policy Exchange entitled “Should the UK Supreme Court be abolished?”[1] A number of commentators, as well as the contributors to this symposium, have discussed my proposal for an extended Final Court of Appeal which would replace the Supreme Court. I thank them all for throwing their caps into the ring, and contributing to a valuable discussion of issues which, as former Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd has said, “need debate.” I thank Professor Ekins, and Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, for providing a forum for a frank exchange of views. I still think reform is needed, and if not this reform, what?

Professor Wyatt’s proposal: a response

The debate about the role of judiciary in our democracy, and in particular of the Supreme Court, will never be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. At root, there is fundamental disagreement about the legitimate function of the judges under the British constitution. At the risk of over-simplistic characterisation, the traditional view is that the court is the handmaiden of Parliament and whilst it can, with appropriate caution, develop the common law, it should genuinely seek to construe legislation, however unpalatable, so as to give effect to the will of Parliament and never to frustrate it.

Latest News

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

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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.

Latest Events

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