Lord Chancellor, lord Chief Justice (authorities of the judicial system)

the judiciary: the people:(The legal professions)

The judiciary in England is very far from ours (the french legal system). There are differences between the English judicial system and ours.

Three main differences:

  • A judge may sit in simultaneously in two courts. He is allocated to one specific court.
  • There isn’t a strict separation of civil and criminal casesin the sense that a court such as the magistrate’s court may hear criminal and civil cases. In France, the courts are divided in criminal matters or civil matters. “Tribunal de police” will deal only with infractions and not deal with the civil matters.
  • Appeal maybe heard by a court of first instance or by the court of appeal. Sometimes the high court which is also a first instance court will hear appeal from cases coming from lower courts. This is something that we don’t know in the French judicial system.

the authorities of the judicial system:

A) The Lord Chancellor:

He is one of the most offices of state (fonctionsd’Etat) taking back in many centuries. For centuries the Lord Chancellor played a vital role in the English legal system.

Before the Lord Chancellor was:

A member of the government (executive power).

Speaker of the House of Lords (law-making power). He was a member of the HL and he participated in the law-making process.

Head of the judiciary + judge in the HL (judicial power).

The Lord Chancellor either appointed judges or recommended judges for appointment. He was simultaneously a part of the three powers which is something that could not be maintained in a democratic country. The situation ended late, at the beginning of the 21st century.

It changes with the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005:

The Constitutional Reform Act changed the role of the Lord Chancellor. It was suggested to delete, to eliminate the functions of the Lord Chancellor. It raisesa lot of oppositions. The function remained but of course his role has been changed by this reform.

– The role of the Lord Chancellor is to be the ministry of justice, the secondary of state for justice.

Heads the Ministry of justice (secretary of State for Justice). The other functions have to be abandoned.

Under the Constitutional Reform Act the lord chancellor ceased to be the speaker of the Lords, he was replaced on his position by the Lord Speaker. In addition, he isn’t now the head of the judiciary. The head of the judiciary is today the Lord Chief justice. Consequently the Lord Chancellor may no longer sit as a judge.

His role is to be the ministry of justice.

Uphold the continued independence of the judiciary. The constitutional reform act states specifically that the Lord Chancellor has to guaranty the independence of the judiciary and it should not seek to influence particular judicial decisions, he doesn’t participate in the judicial process but he guarantees that the judicial process is independent.

B) The lord Chief Justice:

He became when the Constitutional Reform Act come in force, the head of the judiciary of England and Wales. Before it was a role assured by the Lord Chancellor. That means that he is the president of the court of England and Wales.

Became the head of the judiciary of England and Wales.

Head of Criminal Justice (President of the criminal division at the court of appeal). Behind the president of the court he also may sit in different courts.

Entitled to sit in Court of Appeal, High Court, Crown court, county court, magistrate’s court.

In France we don’t have someone who is the president of all the courts. There is the first president of the “cour de cassation” but not the same responsibility as the Lord Chief Justice.

The Lord Chief Justice has main statutory duties:

  • Represents the views of the judiciary to parliament and government.
  • He allocates resources for the judiciary;he is the one who decides what kind of resources will be used in the courts. He has a role in the training of the judiciary in England. A part depends of the decisions of the Lord Chief Justice.
  • He sits in important criminal cases. He is the president of the sentencing council. It’s a specific body that we don’t have in France. Sentencing applies only for criminal matters, a part of the judgment with deals with the punishment. He plays a big role in criminal matters.

C) The Master of the Rolls:

It is the title of an English judge ranking immediately below the Lord Chief Justice. His name comes from his original function which was to be responsible for the save keeping of charters, and records of important court judgments. As important court judges were writing in Rolls (parchemin) the name of his function came from what he does. The Master of the Rolls is the civil justice of English and Wales. It’s the president of the civil division of the court of Appeal, he was being the leading judge.

It’s the head of civil justice (president of the civil division of the CA). He presides the most difficult and sensitive cases in civil matters. He is also a responsible for the organization of the work of the judges of the division.

D) The Attorney General and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS):

The Attorney General: member of the government who advices the government on matters of law. Moreover the Attorney General may prosecute in criminal matters. By statute the consent of the Attorney General is required for the prosecution of certain offences.

Crown Prosecution Service: created by Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (before: the police force was prosecuting). This is a new body which was created to play the role of prosecutors to prosecute persons suspected to have committed offences. The body has been created only in 1985. It was the job of the police force; it was the body which prosecuted the persons suspect to have committed offences. Much power was given to the police force to investigate, to decide whether a suspected person should be brought before a court. This is the reason why the Crown prosecution service has been created in 1985.

Crown Prosecution Service: responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigating by the police. The persons working in the Crown Prosecution Servicearen’t judges. In England, this function of prosecuting representing the interest of the society isn’t a function assumed by judges.

It also advice the police on prosecution and it prepares the cases for courts and also present criminal cases at courts. The Crown Prosecution Service is under the supervision of the Attorney General. They would be an interference of the executive power in the prosecution. We could feel that the Attorney General has been received advice from the policy of the government.

The independence of the Crown Prosecution Service is something that is respected and increased in England. That has been one case when a minister tries to intervene in a judgment. It has lost his independence. The lawyers working for Crown Prosecution Service aren’t judges and for sometimes the Crown Prosecution Service has some difficulties to recruit talented people.

There has been a changed in 2004 which allowed the member of the Crown Prosecution Service to be appointed as judge. Sort of bridges has been created, it has become possible for lawyers working at the Crown Prosecution Service to be appointed judges.