The Judiciary, Civil Liberties and Human Rights

The Judiciary, Civil Liberties and Human Rights

The Judiciary, Civil Liberties and Human Rights

The Judiciary, Civil Liberties and Human Rights


This book considers the constitutional position of the judiciary and its role in shaping the individual's relations with the state. Readers will gain the following:
• A comprehensive analysis of the history of civil liberties and human rights in the UK, and the judiciary's role in upholding them
• An understanding of the Human Rights Act of 1998 and its potential impact on the judiciary's relations with the parliament and the executive
• An appreciation of the importance of political accountability and open government in the protection of liberty, together with recent legislative reforms in these areas
• An awareness of why important critics believe fundamental freedoms are at risk in the UK in the post 9/11 and 7/7 atmosphere
• A chance to draw comparisons between Britain, the USA and European countries in their attempts to create legal frameworks to protect civil liberties and human rightsThis textbook provides an important, accessible introduction to an area of current widespread concern. Key Features:
• Offers a comprehensive introduction to three key issues: human rights legislation, the role of senior judges, and the protection of civil liberties
• Guides the reader through complex current debates on public order, covert and mass surveillance, and prevention of terrorism
• Provides updated descriptions of key statutes including the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005• ssesses contemporary developments in American law and order policy including the USA/ Patriot Act
• Summarises the arguments of civil liberties lobbies and successive governments
• Includes proposed changes in the law in the aftermath of the July 2005 London bombings


The aim of this book is to guide students (and their teachers) through an increasingly important if somewhat inaccessible area of contemporary politics. While it was written with the needs of those studying British government in mind, it is very much my hope that those whose studies take them into the associated areas of comparative British– American politics and English public law will find much to interest them.

Part of the problem facing anyone following courses on the judiciary and civil liberties is knowing where the law ends and politics begins. Identifying this point is by no means easy. Uncovering the meaning of the law is invariably a complex and time-consuming task and one which, when completed, leaves little room for distinctively political analyses. More than anything else, it is this issue – retaining the prominence of politics in the face of what has become a 'flood tide' of primary statutes and leading cases – which has proved the most taxing. I can only hope that I have struck an appropriate balance.

The production of this book would not have been possible without the advice and support of a number of people. My students (past and present) at the Manchester Grammar School are deserving of special mention, not least because of their collective ability to remind me that the acquisition of knowledge must always lead somewhere. I would also like to record an enduring thanks to my colleagues in the Politics Department at mgs – Rod Martin, Richard Kelly and Neil Smith – for years of fellowship in the common struggle. a debt of gratitude is owed to the Series Editor, Duncan Watts, both for the many suggestions which have made this book considerably better than it would have been otherwise, and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of tolerance and goodwill. On that note, the long-suffering staff at Edinburgh University Press, most especially Nicola Ramsey, have shown me levels of kindness and consideration far greater than I ever deserved.

Finally, this preface would not be complete without recording the love and regard in which his partner for the last nineteen years – Dr Lynn Perry – is held by the author. the completion of The Judiciary . . .

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