The Constitution Unit


Judiciary & Human Rights Archive

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The Unit’s research in this area can be divided into three phases. From 1996 to 2000 we played a formative role in developing different models for the Human Rights Act 1998 and its enforcement. We then played a similar role in the thinking which led to the creation of the new Supreme Court. Finally, we worked closely with the judiciary in thinking how they manage their affairs since they became a much more independent and separate branch of government under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.


The Politics of Judicial Independence (2011-15)

This project examined the impact of reforms to the judiciary enacted by the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005. It considered the extent to which the judiciary have gained in independence and have governed themselves seperately from other branches of government. 

New Supreme Court (2000-04)

Following New Labour's proposals to create a new Supreme Court (coming to fruition in 2005), Andrew Le Sueur and Richard Cornes considered the role it would need to fulfil and the set out the different forms it could take in order to fulfil that role 

Human Rights Act (1996-2002)

This page draws together the Constitution Unit's work on Human Rights legislation covering New Labour's policy proposals and enacted reforms. We considered different legislative models invoked and the institutions needed to support reforms. 

The Human Rights Act 1998: Policy on access to NHS Treatment and Services (2000-02)

This project examined the implications of the Human Rights Act 1998 for policy on access to NHS treatment and services. We consulted widely on the matter and sought to provide clarification and guidance for healthcare professionals and service users. 

Human Rights Act 1998 and Whitehall (2000-02)

This project considered the impact of reforms promulgated by New Labour under the Human Rights Act 1998 on Whitehall and the civil service. It was part of a wider body of work undertaken by the Constitution Unit on the 2005 reforms. 

How the Law and Devolution Disputes Shape the Devolution Settlement (2001-04)

This project considered the role of the law in shaping the first five years of New Labour's devolution settlement. It considered both legal and political resolution of disputes and also investigated the impact of judicial review on the Scottish Parliament. 

Supreme or Constitutional Court: What do the top courts do? (1999-2001)

This project took place before New Labour's major judicial reforms in 2005. It considered the role of the country's then top courts; the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords and the Judicial Committe of the Privy Council and whether they needed reform. 

Judicial Assistance: The support needs of the Higher Courts (1999-2001)

This project took a comparative approach to studying three devices: amicus curae, third party intervenors and judicial clerks, which assist judges in making decisions. It considered the higher courts of Scotland and the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the ECJ and the ECHR.