House of Lords Ceases Judicial Function

 

Today saw the final sitting of the House of Lords in its judicial function. This is a constitutionally historic day as it finally sees the end of the judiciary sitting as part of the legislature. The legislature and the Judiciary are at last separate from one another.

Friday will see the Law Lords packing up and moving to the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, where they will begin sitting in October. The current Law Lords will remain peers of the House, but will be unable to partake in activities in the House of Lords while they are still sitting in the Supreme Court.

The House of Lords is currently the highest court of appeal for all civil cases in Scotland, this function will transfer to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. As far as Criminal cases are concerned the High Court of Justiciary (sitting in its appellate function) will remain the highest court of appeal in Scotland.

One of the final judgments to be given in the House of Lords was that the UK Law on assisted suicide is to be clarified. This is long overdue and will mean that the law on assisted suicide will at least comply with the European Convention on Human Rights, even if it turns out that the clarification is not what it is hoped it will be (i.e. that those who travel to Switzerland – or other similar country – with loved ones will not be prosecuted on their return to the United Kingdom).

An interesting and historic day in UK legal terms. It will be good to see the Supreme Court up and running in October.

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5 thoughts on “House of Lords Ceases Judicial Function

  1. “This is long overdue and will mean that the law on assisted suicide will at least comply with the European Convention on Human Rights, even if it turns out that the clarification is not what it is hoped it will be (i.e. that those who travel to Switzerland – or other similar country – with loved ones will not be prosecuted on their return to the United Kingdom).”

    This is an interesting phrase, in so much as it seems to imply that the ruling is against the majority opinion even though public opinion would seem to support this decision.

    Really interesting blog, I will add you to my blogroll.

  2. We’ll just have to see what comes of it. I’ll be keeping an eye out on the outcome.

    I’m glad that you find my blog interesting. I look forward to having a read of yours.

  3. What a like about the New Supreme Court of England is that the Judges would be siting at eye level contact with the advocates and the members of the public and that, its proceedings would be telecast live. How I wish the Indian Supreme Court would also change in the same fashion.

    • Small technicality I know, but it is the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, not just England (England is part of the UK, not a synonym for it – we Scots get a little annoyed about that)

      The proceedings will only be shown on television where the media want to cover them live or make recordings of them; in reality one would not expect this to happen all that often as the vast majority of cases that will go before the Supreme Court will not be all that interesting (it being an appeal court rather than a trial court).

  4. Sorry for hurting the Scot sentiments.I will correct myself in future.

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