Saturday, 21 May 2011

Consitutional Crisis Ahoy!

I'm taking especially about super-injunctions and the battleground that is now evolving between Parliament and the Courts.

Parliament enact the law, but once enacted, should abide by the laws it creates. Courts interpret that law. You'd think it'd be that simple. But no a number of spanners have been thrown into the constitutional machine of late. First, the courts decided to interpret the law and step up a level from super-injunctions to the new hyper-injunction. A hyper injunction stops people involved in the court case even talking to their elected Parliamentary representative: their MP.

MPs have seen this as a step too far for the power of the courts and have decided to take matters into their own hands by unsing Parliamentary priviledge to report on these hyper-injunctions and send a message to the courts that they've stepped into an area they shouldn't be stepping into.

The courts have now shot back saying Parliament should abide by the law and not break it.

Wise heads need to prevail and sense needs to be brought back to the legislative process.

First, Parliamentarians should look very closely at the laws they are creating. Its no good griping later when you stood by and rubber-stamped bad legislation. I'd hope now that Parliament will have learned its lesson and start to scrutinise new legislation on the books. Its no good enacting law and assuming it will be used in a certain way if the law is broad enough to be interpreted in a different way that the one intended. It's necessary to add detail to the legislation in order to set boundaries as to its use. Having generic legislation which is to loose in construction may have been well intended in order to catch every circumstance, but such sloppyness cannot be afforded when it comes to law-making.

Second, no matter what the legislation says, the courts should not interfere with the relationship between a person and their member of parliament. If a person feels aggrieved, they must be free to air grievances with the highest authority on the matter. It should be made clear that interfering with that process is wrong.

Update:

I was thinking about this last night and I want to add this: Its wrong that a court that is interpreting the law should seek to prevent an aggrieved person from seeking to change bad law by contacting their elected representative and petitioning them to change that law. That's a process that has evolved the law for hundreds of years and I personally feel that its beyond the remit of the courts to try and stop that process.

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