Changing the Rules

The judiciary, human rights and the constitution

‘The rules have changed’, the Prime Minister famously stated as he announced a package of measures to deal with terrorism in the wake of the London bombings in July 2005. In relation to deportations, he warned the judiciary not to interfere with proposals to negotiate agreements with states that have, until now, been regarded as unable to give guarantees that deportees will not be tortured.

The Prime Minister kick-started a debate for which JUSTICE had been preparing. The core question is: what are the appropriate relative powers of the judiciary, the executive and the legislature within a democracy that commits itself to international standards of human rights?

JUSTICE has produced this discussion paper as a prelude to a longer examination.

  • Our objectives are:
    to chart the changing balance of power between the judiciary, executive and legislature
  • to identify where problems and uncertainties are located
  • to articulate a re-balancing of powers within the constitution to meet contemporary pressures.

This discussion paper laid the basis for JUSTICE’s later work on a British bill of rights. Its Constitution Committee published two reports in 2007:

Interim report


Roger Smith


1 September 2006

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