Thursday, 21 May 2009

What exactly does the Privy Council do?

Interesting article on this strange body here. Crying out for reform?

Law reform body Justice say that “the lack of accessibility and transparency of the Privy Council means that almost no one understands its processes”.

The Privy Council for AS Law Students has two functions - as a Court, (the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council) and as a body that meets to issue Orders in Council. LinkOrders in Council often concern matters of national security, or the implementation of European Directives.

The judges who sit in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council are the same people that make up the Law Lords. As it is outside the hierarchy of the Courts, Privy Council decisions are persuasive only but the case of R v James and Karimi (2006) shows us that the Court of Appeal will sometimes follow a Privy Council decision over one of the House of Lords - in this case, the Privy Council's decision in Jersey v Holley (2005) was preferred to the House of Lords' decision in R v Smith (Morgan James) (2001)

The picture above (by artist Ptolemy Dean) shows the chamber where meetings of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council take place - although they will move to the new Supreme Court building next year.

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