|The Supreme Court|
|(Welsh: Y Goruchaf Lys; Scottish Gaelic: An Àrd Chùirt; Scots: The Supreme Coort; Irish: An Chúirt Uachtarach)|
|Established||1 October 2009|
|Location||Middlesex Guildhall, London, England|
|Composition method||Appointed by the Monarch, on the advice of the Prime Minister|
|Authorized by||Constitutional Reform Act 2005, Part 3, Section 23(1) and s. 23 (whole section)|
|Number of positions||12|
|Currently||The Baroness Hale of Richmond|
|Since||5 September 2017|
|Since||7 June 2018|
The Supreme Court (Welsh : Y Goruchaf Lys; Scottish Gaelic : An Àrd Chùirt; Scots : The Supreme Coort; Irish : An Chúirt Uachtarach; sometimes colloquially referred to by the initialism UKSC or the acronym SCOTUK) is the final court of appeal in the United Kingdom for civil cases, and for criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population.
Welsh is a Brittonic language of the Celtic language family. It is spoken natively in Wales, by some in England, and in Y Wladfa. Historically, it has also been known in English as 'British', 'Cambrian', 'Cambric' and 'Cymric'.
Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster in Ireland. It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language which was historically restricted to most of the Highlands, the Hebrides and Galloway after the 16th century. The Scots language developed during the Middle English period as a distinct entity.
Irish is a Goidelic language of the Celtic languages family, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family. Irish originated in Ireland and was historically spoken by Irish people throughout Ireland. Irish is spoken as a first language in substantial areas of counties Galway, Kerry, Cork and Donegal, smaller areas of Waterford, Mayo and Meath, and a few other locations, and as a second language by a larger group of habitual but non-traditional speakers across the country.
As authorised by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, Part 3, Section 23(1),the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom was formally established on 1 October 2009.
The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, relevant to UK constitutional law. It provides for a Supreme Court of the United Kingdom to take over the previous appellate jurisdiction of the Law Lords as well as some powers of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and removed the functions of Speaker of the House of Lords and Head of the Judiciary of England and Wales from the office of Lord Chancellor.
It assumed the judicial functions of the House of Lords, which had been exercised by the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (commonly called "Law Lords"), the 12 judges appointed as members of the House of Lords to carry out its judicial business as the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords. Its jurisdiction over devolution matters had previously been exercised by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
The House of Lords of the United Kingdom, in addition to having a legislative function, historically also had a judicial function. It functioned as a court of first instance for the trials of peers, for impeachment cases, and as a court of last resort within the United Kingdom. In the latter case the House's jurisdiction was essentially limited to the hearing of appeals from the lower courts. Appeals were technically not to the House of Lords, but rather to the Queen-in-Parliament. By constitutional convention, only those lords who were legally qualified heard the appeals, since World War II usually in what was known as the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords rather than in the chamber of the House.
Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, commonly known as Law Lords, were judges appointed under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 to the British House of Lords in order to exercise its judicial functions, which included acting as the highest court of appeal for most domestic matters. The House of Lords lost its judicial functions upon the establishment of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in October 2009; Lords of Appeal in Ordinary then in office automatically became Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, and those Supreme Court justices that had seats in the House of Lords lost their right to speak and vote there until their retirement as justices of the new court.
The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers and domestically usually referred to simply as the Lords, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is granted by appointment or else by heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.
The current President of the Supreme Court is The Baroness Hale of Richmond, and its Deputy President is Lord Reed.
Brenda Marjorie Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond, known as Lady Hale, is a British judge serving as President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom since 2017.
Robert John Reed, Lord Reed, is a Scottish judge and the current Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. He sat as the principal judge in the Commercial Court before being promoted to the Inner House of the Court of Session in 2008. He is an authority on human rights law in Scotland and elsewhere, and serves as one of the UK's ad hoc judges at the European Court of Human Rights. He is also a Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong.
The United Kingdom has a doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, so the Supreme Court is much more limited in its powers of judicial review than the constitutional or supreme courts of some other countries. It cannot overturn any primary legislation made by Parliament.
Parliamentary sovereignty is a concept in the constitutional law of some parliamentary democracies. It holds that the legislative body has absolute sovereignty and is supreme over all other government institutions, including executive or judicial bodies. It also holds that the legislative body may change or repeal any previous legislation and so it is not bound by written law or by precedent.
Judicial review is a process under which executive or legislative actions are subject to review by the judiciary. A court with authority for judicial review may invalidate laws, acts and governmental actions that are incompatible with a higher authority: an executive decision may be invalidated for being unlawful or a statute may be invalidated for violating the terms of a constitution. Judicial review is one of the checks and balances in the separation of powers: the power of the judiciary to supervise the legislative and executive branches when the latter exceed their authority. The doctrine varies between jurisdictions, so the procedure and scope of judicial review may differ between and within countries.
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, and domestically simply as Parliament or Westminster, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign (Queen-in-Parliament), the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. The two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London.
However, it can overturn secondary legislation if, for an example, that legislation is found to be ultra vires to the powers in primary legislation allowing it to be made. Further, under section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998, the Supreme Court, like some other courts in the United Kingdom, may make a declaration of incompatibility, indicating that it believes that the legislation subject to the declaration is incompatible with one of the rights in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Ultra vires is a Latin phrase meaning "beyond the powers". An act which requires legal authority but is done without it, is characterised in law as ultra vires. Its opposite, an act done under proper authority, is intra vires. Acts that are intra vires may equivalently be termed "valid" and those that are ultra vires "invalid".
The Human Rights Act 1998 (c42) is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom which received Royal Assent on 9 November 1998, and mostly came into force on 2 October 2000. Its aim was to incorporate into UK law the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights. The Act makes a remedy for breach of a Convention right available in UK courts, without the need to go to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg.
A declaration of incompatibility in UK constitutional law is a declaration issued by a United Kingdom judge that a statute is incompatible with the European Convention of Human Rights under the Human Rights Act 1998 section 4. This is a central part of UK constitutional law. Very few declarations of incompatibility have been issued, in comparison to the number of challenges.
Such a declaration can apply to primary or secondary legislation. The legislation is not overturned by the declaration, and neither Parliament nor the government is required to agree with any such declaration. However, if they do accept a declaration, ministers can exercise powers under section 10 of the Human Rights Act to amend the legislation by statutory instrument to remove the incompatibility or ask Parliament to amend the legislation.
The creation of a Supreme Court for the United Kingdom was first mooted in a consultation paper published by the Department of Constitutional Affairs in July 2003.Although the paper noted that there had been no criticism of the then-current Law Lords or any indication of an actual bias, it argued that the separation of the judicial functions of the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords from the legislative functions of the House of Lords should be made explicit. The paper noted the following concerns:
The main argument against a new Supreme Court was that the previous system had worked well and kept costs down.Reformers expressed concern that this second main example of a mixture of the legislative, judicial and executive might conflict with professed values under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Officials who make or execute laws have an interest in court cases that put those laws to the test. When the state invests judicial authority in those officials or even their day-to-day colleagues, it puts the independence and impartiality of the courts at risk. Consequently, it was hypothesised closely connected decisions of the Law Lords to debates had by friends or on which the Lord Chancellor had expressed a view might be challenged on human-rights grounds on the basis that they had not constituted a fair trial.
Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, later President of the Supreme Court, expressed fear that the new court could make itself more powerful than the House of Lords committee it succeeded, saying that there is a real risk of "judges arrogating to themselves greater power than they have at the moment". Lord Phillips said such an outcome was "a possibility", but was "unlikely".
The reforms were controversial and were brought forward with little consultation but were subsequently extensively debated in Parliament. million.During 2004, a select committee of the House of Lords scrutinised the arguments for and against setting up a new court. The Government estimated the set-up cost of the Supreme Court at £56.9
The first case heard by the Supreme Court was HM Treasury v Ahmed , which concerned "the separation of powers", according to Phillips, its inaugural President. At issue was the extent to which Parliament has, by the United Nations Act 1946, delegated to the executive the power to legislate. Resolution of this issue depended upon the approach properly to be adopted by the court in interpreting legislation which may affect fundamental rights at common law or under the European Convention on Human Rights.
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From the Supreme Court —
The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, and for criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population.
For Scottish civil cases decided prior to September 2015, permission to appeal from the Court of Session was not required and any such case can proceed to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom if two advocates certify that an appeal is suitable. The entry into force of the Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 has essentially brought the procedure for current and future Scottish civil cases into line with England, Wales and Northern Ireland, where permission to appeal is required, either from the Court of Appeal or from a Justice of the Supreme Court itself.
The Supreme Court's focus is on cases that raise points of law of general public importance. As with the former Appellate Committee of the House of Lords, appeals from many fields of law are likely to be selected for hearing, including commercial disputes, family matters, judicial review claims against public authorities and issues under the Human Rights Act 1998.
The Supreme Court only exceptionally hears criminal appeals from the High Court of Justiciary with respect to "devolution issues".
The Supreme Court also determines "devolution issues" (as defined by the Scotland Act 1998, the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 2006). These are legal proceedings about the powers of the three devolved administrations—the Northern Ireland Executive and Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament, and the Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales. Devolution issues were previously heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and most are about compliance with rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, brought into national law by the Devolution Acts and the Human Rights Act 1998.
All twelve justices do not all hear every case. Unless there are circumstances requiring a larger panel, a case is usually heard by a panel of five justices.More than five justices may sit on a panel where the case is of "high constitutional importance" or "great public importance"; if the case raises "an important point in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights"; if the case involves a conflict of decisions among the House of Lords, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, or Supreme Court; or if the Court "is being asked to depart, or may decide to depart from" its previous precedent.
To avoid a tie, all cases are heard by a panel containing an odd number of justices.Thus, the largest possible panel for a case is 11 justices. To date, there have been only two occasions (both involving matters of major constitutional importance) heard by 11 justices: the case of R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (argued in 2016 and decided in 2017) and the cases of R (Miller) v The Prime Minister and Cherry v Advocate General for Scotland (argued and decided in 2019).
The Supreme Court has a separate administration from the other courts of the United Kingdom, under a Chief Executive who is appointed by the Court's President.
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The High Court of Justiciary, the Court of Session, and the Office of the Accountant of Court make up the College of Justice, and are known as "the Supreme Courts of Scotland".
Prior to 1 October 2009, there were two other courts known as "the supreme court", namely the Supreme Court of England and Wales (known as "the Supreme Court of Judicature", prior to the passing and coming-into-force of the Senior Courts Act 1981), which was created in the 1870s under the Judicature Acts, and the Supreme Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland, both of which consisted of a Court of Appeal, a High Court of Justice and a Crown Court. When the provisions of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 came into force these became known as the Senior Courts of England and Wales and the Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland respectively.
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council also retains jurisdiction over certain matters. The judicial functions of the House of Lords have all been abolished, other than the trial of impeachments, a procedure which has been obsolete for 200 years.
The court is composed of the President and Deputy President and ten other Judges of the Supreme Court, all with the style of "Justices of the Supreme Court" under section 23(6) of the Constitutional Reform Act.The President and Deputy President of the court are separately appointed to those roles.
The ten Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (Law Lords) holding office on 1 October 2009 became the first judges of the twelve-member Supreme Court.The eleventh place on the Supreme Court was filled by Lord Clarke (formerly the Master of the Rolls), who was the first justice to be appointed directly to the Supreme Court. One of the former Law Lords, Lord Neuberger, was appointed to replace Clarke as Master of the Rolls, and so did not move to the new court. Lord Dyson became the twelfth and final judge of the Supreme Court on 13 April 2010. In 2010, Queen Elizabeth II granted justices who are not peers use of the title Lord or Lady, by warrant under the royal sign-manual.
The Senior Law Lord on 1 October 2009, Lord Phillips, became the Supreme Court's first President,and the Second Senior Law Lord, Lord Hope, became the first Deputy President.
On 30 September 2010 Lord Saville became the first justice to retire,followed by Lord Collins on 7 May 2011, although the latter remained as an acting judge until the end of July 2011.
In June 2011 Lord Rodger became the first justice to die in office, after a short illness.
In addition to the twelve permanent judges, the President may request other senior judges drawn from two groups to sit as "acting judges" of the Supreme Court.
The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 makes provision for a new appointment process for Judges of the Supreme Court. A selection commission is to be formed when vacancies arise. This is to be composed the President and Deputy President of the Supreme Court and a member of the Judicial Appointments Commission of England and Wales, the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland and the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission. In October 2007, the Ministry of Justice announced that this appointment process would be adopted on a voluntary basis for appointments of Lords of Appeal in Ordinary.
The commission selects one person for the vacancy and notifies the Lord Chancellor of its choice. The Lord Chancellor then either
If the Lord Chancellor approves the person selected by the commission, the Prime Minister must then recommend that person to the Monarch for appointment.
New judges appointed to the Supreme Court after its creation will not necessarily receive peerages; however, they are given the courtesy title of Lord or Lady upon appointment.The President and Deputy President are appointed to those roles rather than being the most senior by tenure in office.
There are 12 judges. In order of seniority, they are as follows:
|Prior senior judicial roles|
| The Baroness Hale|
|31 January 1945|
|Girton College, Cambridge||1 October 2009||31 January 2020|| Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2004–2009)|
Lord Justice of Appeal (1999–2003)
Justice of the High Court, FD (1994–1999)
| Lord Reed |
|7 September 1956|
| University of Edinburgh School of Law |
Balliol College, Oxford
|6 February 2012||7 September 2026|| Senator of the College of Justice:|
Inner House (2008–2012)
Outer House (1998–2008)
| The Lord Kerr|
|22 February 1948|
|Queen's University Belfast||1 October 2009||22 February 2023|| Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2009)|
Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland (2004–2009)
Justice of the High Court (NI) (1993–2004)
| Lord Wilson|
|9 May 1945|
|Worcester College, Oxford||26 May 2011||9 May 2020|| Lord Justice of Appeal (2005–2011)|
Justice of the High Court, FD (1993–2005)
| Lord Carnwath|
of Notting Hill
|15 March 1945|
|Trinity College, Cambridge||17 April 2012||15 March 2020|| Senior President of Tribunals (2007–2012)|
Lord Justice of Appeal (2002–2012)
Justice of the High Court, CD (1994–2002)
|Lord Hodge||19 May 1953|
| Corpus Christi College, Cambridge |
University of Edinburgh School of Law
|1 October 2013||19 May 2023|| Senator of the College of Justice,|
Outer House (2005–2013)
| Lady Black|
|1 June 1954|
|Trevelyan College, Durham||2 October 2017||1 June 2024|| Lady Justice of Appeal (2010–2017)|
Justice of the High Court, FD (1999–2010)
|Lord Lloyd-Jones||13 January 1952|
|Downing College, Cambridge||2 October 2017||13 January 2022|| Lord Justice of Appeal (2012–2017)|
Justice of the High Court, QBD (2005–2012)
| Lord Briggs|
|23 December 1954|
|Magdalen College, Oxford||2 October 2017||23 December 2024|| Lord Justice of Appeal (2013–2017)|
Justice of the High Court, CD (2006–2013)
| Lady Arden|
|23 January 1947|
| Girton College, Cambridge |
Harvard Law School
|1 October 2018||23 January 2022|| Lady Justice of Appeal (2000–2018)|
Justice of the High Court, CD (1993–2000)
|Lord Kitchin||30 April 1955|
|Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge||1 October 2018||30 April 2025|| Lord Justice of Appeal (2011–2018)|
Justice of the High Court, CD (2005–2011)
|Lord Sales||11 February 1962|
| Churchill College, Cambridge |
Worcester College, Oxford
|11 January 2019||11 February 2032|| Lord Justice of Appeal (2014–2018)|
Justice of the High Court, CD (2008–2014)
The following announcements have been made regarding forthcoming appointments to the Supreme Court as sitting Justices reach the statutory retirement age:
Furthermore, Lord Reed has been announced as the next President of the Supreme Court. He will succeed Baroness Hale of Richmond in January 2020.
The court is housed in Middlesex Guildhall - which it shares with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council—in the City of Westminster.
The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 gave time for a suitable building to be found and fitted out before the Law Lords moved out of the Houses of Parliament, where they had previously used a series of rooms in the Palace of Westminster.
After a lengthy survey of suitable sites, including Somerset House, the Government announced that the new court would be at the Middlesex Guildhall, in Parliament Square, Westminster. That decision was examined by the Constitutional Affairs Committee,and the grant of planning permission by Westminster City Council for refurbishment works was challenged in a judicial review by the conservation group Save Britain's Heritage. It was also reported that English Heritage had been put under great pressure to approve the alterations. Feilden + Mawson, supported by Foster & Partners, were the appointed architects.
The building had been used as the Middlesex Quarter Sessions House, adding later its county council chamber, and lastly as a Crown Court centre.
The official badge of the Supreme Court was granted by the College of Arms in October 2008.It comprises both the Greek letter omega (representing finality) and the symbol of Libra (symbolising the scales of justice), in addition to the four floral emblems of the United Kingdom: a Tudor rose, representing England, conjoined with the leaves of a leek, representing Wales; a flax (or 'lint') blossom for Northern Ireland; and a thistle, representing Scotland.
Two adapted versions of its official badge are used by the Supreme Court. One features the words "The Supreme Court" and the letter omega in black (in the official badge granted by the College of Arms, the interior of the Latin and Greek letters are gold and white, respectively), and displays a simplified version of the crown (also in black) and larger, stylised versions of the floral emblems; this modified version of the badge is featured on the new Supreme Court website,as well as in the forms that will be used by the Supreme Court. A further variant omits the crown entirely and is featured prominently throughout the building.
Another emblem is formed from a more abstract set of depictions of the four floral emblems and is used in the carpets of the Middlesex Guildhall designed by Sir Peter Blake, creator of such works as the cover of The Beatles' 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band .
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the highest court of appeal for certain British territories and Commonwealth countries. Established on 13 August 1833 to hear appeals formerly heard by the King-in-Council, the Privy Council formerly acted as the court of last resort for the entire British Empire, and continues to act as the highest court of appeal for several independent Commonwealth nations, the Crown Dependencies, and the British Overseas Territories.
Sub-nationally, the United Kingdom has three legal systems, each of which derives from a particular geographical area and for a variety of historical reasons: English law, Scots law, and Northern Ireland law. Since 2007, as a result of the passage of the Government of Wales Act 2006 by Parliament, there also exists purely Welsh law. However, unlike the other three laws, this is not a separate legal system per se, being merely the primary and secondary legislation generated by the National Assembly for Wales, interpreted in accordance with the doctrines of English law, and not impacting upon English common law. There is a substantial overlap between these three legal systems, and the three legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom, these being England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Each legal system defaults to each jurisdiction, and court systems of each jurisdiction further the relevant system of law through jurisprudence. In private law it is possible for people in certain jurisdictions to use the law of other jurisdictions, for example a company in Edinburgh, Scotland and a company in Belfast, Northern Ireland are free to contract in English law. This is inapplicable in public law, where there are set rules of procedure in each jurisdiction. Overarching these systems is the law of the United Kingdom, also known as United Kingdom law or British law. British law arises where laws apply to the United Kingdom and/or its citizens as a whole, most obviously constitutional law, but also other areas, for instance tax law.
The Courts of the United Kingdom are separated into three separate jurisdictions, the Courts of England and Wales, Courts of Scotland and the Courts of Northern Ireland, as the United Kingdom does not have a single unified judicial system.
The Lord Chancellor, formally the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest ranking among those Great Officers of State which are appointed regularly in the United Kingdom, nominally outranking the Prime Minister. The Lord Chancellor is outranked only by the Lord High Steward, another Great Officer of State, who is appointed only for the day of coronations. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister. Prior to the Union there were separate lord chancellors for England and Wales, for Scotland and for Ireland.
The Court of Session is the supreme civil court of Scotland and constitutes part of the College of Justice; the supreme criminal court of Scotland is the High Court of Justiciary. The Court of Session sits in Parliament House in Edinburgh and is both a trial court and a court of appeal. Decisions of the court can be appealed to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, with the permission of either the Inner House or the Supreme Court. The Court of Session and the local sheriff courts of Scotland have concurrent jurisdiction for all cases with a monetary value in excess of £100,000; the pursuer is given first choice of court. However, the majority of complex, important, or high value cases are brought in the Court of Session. Cases can be remitted to the Court of Session from the sheriff courts, including the Sheriff Personal Injury Court, at the request of the presiding sheriff. Legal aid, administered by the Scottish Legal Aid Board, is available to persons with little disposable income for cases in the Court of Session.
The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court in Scotland. The High Court is both a trial court and a court of appeal. As a trial court, the High Court sits on circuit at Parliament House or the former Sheriff Court building in Edinburgh, or in dedicated buildings in Glasgow and Aberdeen. The High Court sometimes sits in various smaller towns in Scotland, where it uses the local sheriff court building. As an appeal court the High Court sits only in Edinburgh.
The Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that altered the judicial functions of the House of Lords. The Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1887 allowed senior judges to sit in the House of Lords as life peers, known as Lords of Appeal in Ordinary.
The courts of Scotland are responsible for administration of justice in Scotland, under statutory, common law and equitable provisions within Scots law. The courts are presided over by the judiciary of Scotland, who are the various judicial office holders responsible for issuing judgments, ensuring fair trials, and deciding on sentencing. The Court of Session is the supreme civil court of Scotland, subject to appeals to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, and the High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court, which is only subject to the authority of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom on devolution issues and human rights compatibility issues.
The courts of Northern Ireland are the civil and criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in Northern Ireland: they are constituted and governed by Northern Ireland law.
The Inner House is the senior part of the Court of Session, the supreme civil court in Scotland; the Outer House forms the junior part of the Court of Session. It is a court of appeal and a court of first instance. The chief justice is the Lord President, with their deputy being the Lord Justice Clerk, and judges of the Inner House are styled Senators of the College of Justice or Lords of Council and Session. Criminal appeals in Scotland are handled by the High Court of Justiciary sitting as the Court of Appeal.
The Judicial Appointments Commission(JAC) is an independent commission that selects candidates for judicial office in courts and tribunals in England and Wales and for some tribunals whose jurisdiction extends to Scotland or Northern Ireland.
The judiciary of the United Kingdom are the separate judiciaries of the three legal systems in England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. However, the judges of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, Employment Tribunals, Employment Appeal Tribunal and the UK tribunals system do have a United Kingdom–wide jurisdiction.
The President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is equivalent to the now-defunct position of Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, also known as the Senior Law Lord, who was the highest ranking among the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary.
The Privy Council of Tonga is the highest ranking council to advise the Monarch in the Kingdom of Tonga. It is empowered to advise the King in his capacity as Head of State and Fountain of Justice under the provisions of Clause 50 of the Constitution of Tonga:
The judges of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom include the President, the Deputy President, and Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The Supreme Court is the highest in the whole of the United Kingdom for civil matters, and for criminal matters from the United Kingdom jurisdictions of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. Judges are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister, who receives recommendations from a selection commission. The number of judges is set by s.23(2) Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which established the Court, but may be increased by the Queen through an Order in Council under s.23(3). There are currently 12 positions: one President, one Deputy President, and 10 Justices. Judges of the Court who are not already peers are granted the style Lord or Lady for life.
Scots law is the legal system of Scotland. It is a hybrid or mixed legal system containing civil law and common law elements, that traces its roots to a number of different historical sources. Together with English law and Northern Irish law, it is one of the three legal systems of the United Kingdom.
The judiciary of Scotland are the judicial office holders who sit in the courts of Scotland and make decisions in both civil and criminal cases. Judges make sure that cases and verdicts are within the parameters set by Scots law, and they must hand down appropriate judgments and sentences. Judicial independence is guaranteed in law, with a legal duty on Scottish Ministers, the Lord Advocate and the Members of the Scottish Parliament to uphold judicial independence, and barring them from influencing the judges through any form of special access.
For the first time, we have a clear separation of powers between the legislature, the judiciary and the executive in the United Kingdom. This is important. It emphasises the independence of the judiciary, clearly separating those who make the law from those who administer it.
The Government argued that there must be a separation in order to comply with Article Six of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees a fair trial.
The Supreme Courts are made up of the Court of Session, the High Court of Justiciary and the Accountant of Court's Office
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