Parliamentary Accountability and the Judicial System
ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE CONTEMPORARY CONSTITUTION, Nicholas Bamforth and Peter Leyland (eds), 2012
39 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 19, 2012
Tensions between political and legal accountability are a backdrop to many debates about the character and future direction of the British constitution. This essay explores a juncture of these two modes of accountability by examining how the UK Parliament exercises accountability in relation to the judicial system of England and Wales. The first part of this paper defines ‘the judicial system’ and what may be meant by parliamentary accountability in this context. The paper then takes an institutional and procedural approach to examining the opportunities Parliament has for engaging in accountability activities in relation to the judicial system, focusing in particular on the evolving role of select committees. An inductive approach is then used to map current accountability practices in Parliament in relation to particular aspects of the judicial system by drawing on examples from the parliamentary record to develop an explanation of what is and ought to be the reach of MPs’ and peers’ accountability functions relating to judges and courts.
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