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The Main Features of British Judicial System

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Amara is a blogger and writer. She is a graduate in life sciences and has a master's in social sciences.

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The judiciary occupies an important position in the actual administration of England. This is all due to the various qualities and outstanding features that the judiciary possesses.

The Main Qualities

  1. Impartial and independent conduct of judicial procedures
  2. Equity
  3. Rule of law
  4. The high standard of the profession of law
  5. The judiciary is the guardian of rights and liberties
  6. The presence of a jury system for trial
  7. Simplicity of legal procedures
  8. Parliament is supremely sovereign

1. Impartial and Independent Conduct of Judicial Procedures

The judiciary in Great Britain is praised for its fairness and impartiality. Its independence is unassailable. The judges, not the lawyers, rule the courts.

The judiciary in England administers the law without fear or favour. Most of the judges have life tenure and cannot be removed from office except by an address presented to the King by both Houses of Parliament. But this rarely occurs.

The judges are appointed by the Crown on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor. Judges are paid handsomely. The best types of people feel attracted to accepting judicial posts. All this contributes a great deal to their dignity and independence. The English courts are not susceptible to political influence.

2. Equity

Judicial equity holds a praiseworthy place in the British Judicial System. It is based on the following principles:

  • Equity will not suffer a wrong to be without a remedy.
  • He who speaks equity must be equity.
  • Delay defeats equity.
  • Equality is equity.
  • Equity looks at the intent rather than the form.

3. Rule of Law

England is said to be the leading democracy where the rule of law prevails in its best form. The rule of law means that no person can be punished unless his guilt is proven by a court of law.

All persons, whether officials or ordinary citizens, are subject to the same law and the same courts. In simple words, the rule of law means that no distinction is made between an official and a non-official. No official can violate the ordinary law of the land, even while performing his official duties.

An English citizen has the right to summon officials before the ordinary. No person can be arrested without a breach of law and punished without a regular trial before a competent judicial authority.

All convicts have the right to appeal the court's judgement. If there is no prima facie case against any arrested and detained person, the aggrieved person shall be entitled to sue the authority concerned for wrongful detention and claim damages.

[The judges in England] do not tolerate the pettifogging, dilatory, and hair-splitting tactics that lawyers are freely permitted to use in American Halls of Justice. The judge rules his courtroom, pushing the business along, and declines to permit appeals from his rulings unless he sees good reason for doing so.

— Authors William Bennett Munro and Morley Ayearst

4. High Standard of the Profession of Law

The legal profession in Great Britain has been divided into two classes:

  1. Solicitors
  2. Barristers

A solicitor prepares a case for trial. He cannot plead in a higher court of law. He secures the services of a barrister for this purpose.

A barrister is a specialist in pleading cases. He possesses command over language and argumentative qualities.

5. Judiciary is the Guardian of Rights and Liberties

In England, the liberties of citizens are not guaranteed by any parliamentary statute but by the common law of the land. Civil rights, e.g., freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of worship, etc., are enforced by the courts of the land.

These freedoms have become so deeply ingrained in the national life of England that even the British Parliament, with all its technical omnipotence, dare not restrict them in times of peace.

6. Presence of a Jury System for Trial

In the trial of all serious criminal cases, a jury trial may be demanded by an accused in all English courts except the lowest and highest. Several respectable persons, collectively known as the jury, are associated with the magistrate in the administration of justice.

There are not many technicalities in English legal procedures. The rules of procedure are simple, straightforward, and effective. Justice is never delayed.

8. Parliament is Supremely Sovereign

The courts of England have no power of judicial review. Whatever is passed by Parliament cannot be declared unconstitutional by the judiciary.

Sources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Amara