The Judiciary

The Routledge Handbook of British Politics and Society, Forthcoming

Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper

14 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2018

See all articles by Thomas Adams

Thomas Adams

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 5, 2018


This chapter, for an edited collection on British politics and society, seeks to provide a snapshot of the constitutional and political position of the judiciary in the early 21st Century. The first section outlines two important changes in the institutional role of the courts: EU membership and the courts’ emerging human rights jurisprudence. I argue that whilst judges now find themselves with more authority over other organs of the state than they had in the past, they do so for the most part not as a result of their own decisions but because of political choices made by Parliament. This complicates the story told by some that the modern judicial role is antagonistic to the political constitution and the resulting settlement undemocratic. The second section turns to consider the issue of the courts’ composition and the question of judicial diversity. Whilst much has been done in recent years to address the relationship between the judiciary and the other organs of the state there remain, I suggest, important questions about judges and their relation to society at large.

Keywords: Judiciary, Constitutional Law, Politics

Suggested Citation

Adams, Thomas, The Judiciary (May 5, 2018). The Routledge Handbook of British Politics and Society, Forthcoming; Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper. Available at SSRN:

Thomas Adams (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St Cross Building
St Cross Rd
Oxford, OX1 3UL
United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics