Judges and civil liberties - Definitions

Flashcards by , created almost 6 years ago

Politics (Govt & Politics: UK) Flashcards on Judges and civil liberties - Definitions, created by clm3496 on 12/04/2013.

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Created by clm3496 almost 6 years ago
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Question Answer
Judiciary: The branch of government that is responsible for deciding legal disputes and which presides over the court system.
Common law: Law that is based on long-standing custom and traditions; common law is used mainly in the UK and its former colonies.
Mandatory sentences: Sentences that are laid down in legislation, and so remove discretion over sentences from judges.
Judicial independence: The principle that the actions and decisions of judges should not be influenced by pressure from other branches of government.
Judicial activism: The willingness of judges to arbitrate in political disputes, as opposed to merely declaring the 'letter of the law'.
Neutrality: The absence of any form of partisanship or commitment; a refusal to 'take sides'.
Civil liberties: A range of rights and freedoms that belong to the citizen and mark out a 'private' realm which government should leave alone.
International law: The rules that define the behaviour of, and relationship between, states; the UN is the main source of international law.
Ombudsman: A public officer appointed to safeguard citizens' rights and investigate allegations of maladministration; the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, set up in 1967, acts as the 'parliamentary ombudsman'.
Judicial review: The power of the judiciary to 'review' and possibly overturn laws, decrees and actions of other branches of government and public bodies.
Delegated legislation: Laws that allow other bodies to act with Parliaments' legal authority; secondary or enabling legislation.
Ultra vires: Literally, 'beyond the power'; this applies when public servants have acted illegally because their actions have no statutory authority.
Authoritarianism: The practice of rule 'from above'; government that is imposed on citizens regardless of their consent.