Supreme Court justice Lady Hale made a bold statement in the Guardian recently. She predicted that views on constitutional matters are evolving. She said that many new cases that come before the court have taken a more constitutional focus. Lady Hale and the other justices are trying to adapt to a new system that will allow them to preside over these cases effectively.
A recent decision supports the statements Hale made. Counsel General for Wales, Theodore Huckle has questioned the role the Supreme Court plays in deciding constitutional issues. Huckle has challenged a recent decision over Government byelaws with the Supreme Court in recent years. He went head to head with Dominic Grieve, the attorney general of the Supreme Court. Huckle’s decision was upheld 5-0 by the Supreme Court.
The United Kingdom’s highest court has never acted as a constitutional court. Most legal experts never felt there was any reason to make the court take on a constitutional role, because the United Kingdom doesn’t have a written constitution. However, a new landmark case shows that the Supreme Court is taking on a new role that resembles the Supreme Court in the United States and other western nations with constitutions.
The implication of this new ruling is that the court may make new laws and strike down existing ones. Huckle said that the court is considered a constitutional court because of its ability to change statutes.
This new case marks a sudden and extreme shift in the way the Supreme Court will be viewed. The decision was not initiated at a lower court. The decision started at the Supreme Court itself. The binding precedent has changed the way lawmakers and legal observers view the nation’s highest court.
The courts and legal scholars are currently debating the outcome of the new decision. They are discussing the need to setup new institutions that will hear constitutional cases in different jurisdictions.