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Essay The Immense Power of Judges in the United Kingdom

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The statement made above is true to a certain extent. The legal system in the United Kingdom is mainly based on The Doctrine of the Separation of Powers, which is written in the 18th century by a French philosopher called Montesquieu. Montesquieu, believed that in order to have a ‘fair’ legal system, the functions should be divided into 3 different bodies of power in a state. This was to prevent absolute power in either one person or a body of people. He believed that by giving one person or a body of people absolute power the state would be in danger of people having the ability to abuse this power and it would eventually lead to a dictatorship. To ensure that this would not happen, he suggested to separate the functions into three…show more content…
Judges have the ability to interpret almost any statue in several different ways, using the nature of language and by giving some words in a statue meaning. When applying statutory laws, judges try to find out the intention of parliament when passing the law. In order to interpret the meaning of a statue, the courts have developed several ‘rules’. These rules can be divided into 3 categories:
• The Literal Rule
• The Golden Rule
• The Mischief Rule

When the literal rule is applied the words in a statute are given their ordinary and natural meaning Fisher v Bell (1960). The golden rule is an extension of the Literal Rule and is applied when the use of the literal rule would give an ‘absurd’ result, which according to the judge, could not have been intended by Parliament. The judge can substitute and slightly stretch the meaning of the words in a statute Adler v George (1964). The Mischief Rule requires judges to consider three factors:
• What the law was before the statute was passed
• What ‘mischief’ the statute was trying to correct
• What remedy Parliament was trying to provide
The court then applies the interpretation which will correct that weakness or mischief Smith v Hughes (1960).

Another form of statutory interpretation is The Purposive Approach. This
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