This should increase the feeling that judicial appointments are being made on merit rather than on political grounds. Another reform in this category is the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which sets the dates of General Elections to be once every 5 years in order to reduce manipulation of the date by the party in power, which previously could choose to dissolve parliament and start an election campaign of its own volition, depending on its support in opinion polls.
Article 6 1 of the ECHR and its interpretation by the European Court of Human Rights also drew attention to the need for judges not only to be independent but to be seen as such and thus to the peculiar position of the highest court, the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords within the upper house of Parliament.
The best defense for judicial independence, however, may be greater accountability and openness. This removed the top level appellate court of the judiciary from the House of Lords, ensuring a divide between the legislative and judicial branches of government. This requirement might not be met where there is a mix of legislative and adjudicative functions: Procola v.
In addition, the act removes the requirement that lords chancellor be members of the legal profession and makes it possible for them to be elected politicians who sit in, and are accountable to, the House of Commons rather than the House of Lords. The new Court, unlike most courts of its stature, will not be sitting en banc.
The High Court found in favor of aboriginal land rights, and this led to public attacks by senior politicians on the judges involved who, for their part, portrayed this as an assault on judicial independence.
The new Court may also need to be proactive in other ways, when advancing the cause of judicial independence, and, like many of its counterparts, have a policy of public accessibility and education. However, to date, no effective reform has been proposed and accepted.
For much of the twentieth century such a mix of assignments was uncontroversial, in part, because the judicial roles were seen to dominate.
The first reformed the office of Lord Chancellor, the second created and set the framework for a UK Supreme Court and the third regulates the appointment of Judges. The CRA would seem, therefore, to afford less statutory protection than has been portrayed by the government; the judges may find that they themselves will have to take some responsibility for the defense of their independence.