Searching for constitutional meaning in institutional design: The debate over judicial appointments in the United Kingdom

Erin Delaney*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    The United Kingdom is experiencing a period of dramatic constitutional change. A spate of reforms ushered in by the Blair government at the turn of the twenty-first century challenged conventional notions of British governance and constitutional structure. In the shadow of these changes, one new and bedeviling institutional task is to reconcile an independent judicial branch, growing in power, with a system of parliamentary sovereignty. This article will analyze the debate over judicial appointments in order to shed light on the position of the modern British judiciary, and the new UK Supreme Court in particular, within the British constitutional system. Questions of institutional design expose deep divisions over the perceived extent of judicial power, the relationship of the judiciary to Parliament, and the constitutional justifications for diversity on the bench. Although a weak consensus was achieved in the Crime & Courts Act 2013, stability in the appointments regime is likely temporary. The contested nature of the modern British constitutional system will ensure ongoing debate.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)752-768
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Constitutional Law
    Volume14
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Law

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