Keith Ewing

in The Oxford Handbook of British Politics

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780199230952
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations


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This article argues that the story of the ‘judicialization’ of British politics is to some extent a story of paradox and contradiction, in which outstanding questions remain on each of the three issues of effectiveness, legitimacy, and accountability. The ‘concept of the rule of law’ was a source of judicial power and a source of conflict between judges and politicians throughout the twentieth century. Two examples are illustrated that show in different ways how legislation may be constrained by judicial perceptions about the rule of law, which may operate to confine the scope of the legislation, and with it the intention of parliament. The effectiveness and legitimacy of judicial review are described. Judicial power formally seems to be expanding in a number of ways. It is true that the compelling need for judicial independence creates institutional and intellectual barriers to the idea of judicial accountability.

Keywords: British politics; judicialization; judicial review; judiciary; rule of law; effectiveness; legitimacy; judicial accountability; judicial independence; judicial power

Article.  10805 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; UK Politics ; Politics and Law

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