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Separating powers

Ending Britain's "elective dictatorship" is a slowly rolling programme which has now thrown up a British supreme court

By Robert Hazell   August 2003

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? This is the central theme in Lord Falconer’s consultation papers on a new supreme court and an independent judicial appointments commission, published in mid-July. In the past, the lord chancellor was chief guardian of everything, being simultaneously head of the judiciary, speaker of the House of Lords, and an increasingly powerful cabinet minister. He was a living contradiction of the separation of powers: an increasing embarrassment in Europe and the subject of growing criticism at home. The law lords strongly disliked his sitting with them as a judge, and a successful Human Rights Act challenge from…

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