Essay The Separation and Balance of Powers in the UK Constitution

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The Separation and Balance of Powers in the UK Constitution

“By the latter part of the 20th century the independence of the judges had come under increasing threat from interference by the executive. Recent reforms have, however, served to redress this position and ensure that a proper division of personnel and functions between these two arms of the state is restored.

Discuss this statement in the context of the Separation/ Balance of Powers in the UK constitution.”

French political thinker Montesquieu argued during the Enlightenment that in a democratic state the three branches of government; the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary should not overlap in personnel or function.
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An entirely independent judiciary may perhaps be a myth, as the executive limit their autonomy through the Lord Chancellor’s power, the appointment process, and even their own personal biases. The Lord Chancellor, mentioned as the “living refutation of the doctrine of separation of powers (Hartley 179)” is a member of the upper house of legislature, normally a member of Cabinet, as well as a senior judge. He is often a career politician and his powers fuse all three branches of government. For example, the present Chancellor, Gordon Brown, is a Scottish Labour Party politician. Some argue that the Lord Chancellor acts as representative for the other branches of government in the Judiciary, and not only promotes governmental cooperation, but in fact is a sentinel of judicial independence (Turpin 56). However, is it possible for the party affiliate spokesman of government whose role is the furtherance of party agenda to be neutral? As judges may be members of the House of Lords, they themselves are entwined with the legislative process. The integrity of the judiciary is especially tried over issues of heightened political controversy.

The executive branch of government can furthermore influence the Lord Chancellor who wields the significant power of dismissal of the
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