Mechanisms of judicial accountability in British central government
Author: M. Flinders
Source: Parliamentary Affairs, Volume 54, Number 1, 1 January 2001 , pp. 54-71(18)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Abstract:The effectiveness of ministerial responsibility to Parliament as a sufficient check on the actions of ministers and officials is widely doubted. This article considers the utility of judicial forms of accountability and whether these mechanisms, to a greater or lesser extent, off-set the deficiencies commonly associated with the convention of ministerial responsibility. The first section offers a brief consideration of a number of constitutional, historical and theoretical issues. The second examines the impact of judicial accountability on central government. Exploring three distinct processes (judicial review, European Convention on Human Rights cases and judicial inquiries), it draws upon the wider literature and available research to evaluate the positive and negative aspects of each mechanism. The final section concludes that judicial forms of accountability have not evolved to remedy the shortcomings commonly identified with ministerial responsibility to Parliament. However, it is suggested that the constitutional equilibrium is changing and the role of the courts in relation to the executive may change dramatically in the (near) future.
Document Type: Original article
Publication date: 2001-01-01
- Parliamentary Affairs is an established, peer-reviewed academic quarterly covering all the aspects of government and politics directly or indirectly connected with Parliament and parliamentary systems in Britain and throughout the world. The journal is published in partnership with the Hansard Society. The Society was created to promote parliamentary democracy throughout the world, a theme which is reflected in the pages of Parliamentary Affairs.