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Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Badge of the Supreme Court
Court NameSupreme Court of the United Kingdom
CaptionBadge of the Supreme Court
Established1 October 2009
CountryUnited Kingdom
LocationMiddlesex Guildhall, London
TypeAppointed by Monarch on advice of Prime Minister.
Chosen name recommended to PM by a selection commission.
AuthorityConstitutional Reform Act 2005, Part 3
TermsLife tenure with mandatory retirement at the age of 70
ChiefjudgenameLord Phillips of Worth Matravers
Termstart1 October 2009
Chiefjudgetitle2Deputy President
Chiefjudgename2Lord Hope of Craighead
Termstart21 October 2009

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The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the supreme court in all matters under English law, Northern Irish law and Scottish civil law. It is the court of last resort and highest appellate court in the United Kingdom; however the High Court of Justiciary remains the supreme court for criminal cases in Scotland. The Supreme Court also has jurisdiction to resolve disputes relating to devolution in the United Kingdom and concerning the legal powers of the three devolved governments or laws made by the devolved legislatures. It is housed in Middlesex Guildhall-which it shares with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council-in the City of Westminster.

The Supreme Court was established by Part 3 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and started work on 1 October 2009. It assumed the judicial functions of the House of Lords, which were exercised by the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (commonly called "Law Lords"), the 12 professional judges appointed as members of the House of Lords to carry out its judicial business. Its jurisdiction over devolution matters had previously been held by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Due to the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, the court is limited in its powers of judicial review, unlike the constitutional courts of some other countries. This means that it cannot overturn any primary legislation made by Parliament. However it can overturn secondary legislation if, for example, that legislation is found to be ultra vires of the powers in primary legislation allowing it to be made. Furthermore, under section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998, the court may make a declaration of incompatibility which means that it believes that the legislation subject to the declaration is incompatible with one of the rights of the European Convention on Human Rights and such a declaration can apply equally to primary and secondary legislation. The legislation is not overturned by the declaration but powers under section 10 of the act are triggered to allow ministers to amend the legislation by statutory instrument to remove the incompatibility.

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