Judicial functions of the House of Lords

House of LordsAppellate Committee of the House of LordsLaw LordsJudicial Committee of the House of Lordsjudicial functionsAppellate CommitteeLaw LordLord of Appeal in OrdinaryHLLords of Appeal
The House of Lords of the United Kingdom, in addition to having a legislative function, historically also had a judicial function.wikipedia
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Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

Supreme CourtUK Supreme CourtUnited Kingdom Supreme Court
In 2009 the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom assumed the functions as the new court of final appeal in the UK.
It assumed the judicial functions of the House of Lords, which had been exercised by the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (commonly called "Law Lords"), the 12 judges appointed as members of the House of Lords to carry out its judicial business as the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords.

Supreme court

court of last resorthighest courtsupreme
It functioned as a court of first instance for the trials of peers, for impeachment cases, and as a court of last resort within the United Kingdom.
(The supreme court for criminal matters in Scotland is the High Court of Justiciary.) The Supreme Court was established by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 with effect from 1 October 2009, replacing and assuming the judicial functions of the House of Lords.

United Kingdom

BritishUKBritain
The House of Lords of the United Kingdom, in addition to having a legislative function, historically also had a judicial function.
A new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom came into being in October 2009 to replace the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords.

High Court of Justiciary

High CourtLord of JusticiaryCourt of Justiciary
As lower courts were established, the House of Lords came to be the court of last resort in criminal and civil cases, except that in Scotland, the High Court of Justiciary remained the highest court in criminal matters.
The High Court of Justiciary remained the final authority on all matters of criminal law after the Act of Union, though the Parliament of Great Britain appears to have had appellate jurisdiction through the judicial functions of the House of Lords this appeared to have little effect in practice.

Common law

common-lawcourts of common lawcommon
The House of Commons challenged that the Lords could hear only petitions challenging the decisions of common law courts but not those challenging the decisions of courts of equity.
From 1966 to 2009, this power lay with the House of Lords, granted by the Practice Statement of 1966.

Scotland

Scottish🏴󠁧󠁒󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿Scots
As lower courts were established, the House of Lords came to be the court of last resort in criminal and civil cases, except that in Scotland, the High Court of Justiciary remained the highest court in criminal matters.
The supreme civil court is the Court of Session, although civil appeals can be taken to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (or before 1 October 2009, the House of Lords).

Court of Chancery

ChanceryMaster in Chancerychancery court
One case was from the Court of Chancery, and the other from the equity branch of the Court of the Exchequer.
A major reform to the Court happened soon after the restoration, with the introduction of a right of appeal to the House of Lords from the Chancery.

Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876

The judicial business of the House of Lords was regulated by the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876.
The Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 (39 & 40 Vict. c.59) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that altered the judicial functions of the House of Lords.

Courts of Scotland

courtcourtsScottish courts
The question then arose as to whether or not appeals could be taken from Scottish Courts.
Until the creation of the Supreme Court, ultimate appeal lay to the House of Lords, a chamber of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (though in modern practice only the Law Lords sitting in the Appellate Committee, rather than the whole House, heard appeals).

High Court of Justice

High CourtChancery DivisionHigh Court of England and Wales
Alternatively, cases raising important legal points could leapfrog from the High Court of England and Wales or High Court in Northern Ireland.
Appeal from the High Court in civil matters normally lies to the Court of Appeal, and thence in cases of importance to the Supreme Court (the House of Lords before 2009); in some cases a "leapfrog" appeal may be made directly to the Supreme Court.

Court of Appeal (England and Wales)

Court of AppealCourt of Appeal of England and WalesEnglish Court of Appeal
In civil cases, the House of Lords could hear appeals from the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland and the Scottish Court of Session.
The recommendation was that there should be a common system of appeal from all of the High Court divisions, with a limited set of appeals allowed to the House of Lords.

Curia regis

royal councilKing's Councilhis council
Parliament's role in deciding litigation originated from the similar role of the Royal Court, where the King dispensed justice.
Some judicial functions of the House of Lords persisted until 2009.

Lord High Steward

High StewardLord High Steward of EnglandStewardship
The Lord High Steward presided, but the entire House could decide all legal, factual or procedural disputes.
The trial of peers by their peers (a law which applied for felonies) was abolished in 1948.

R (Factortame Ltd) v Secretary of State for Transport

FactortameFactortame caseR (Factortame Ltd) v SS for Transport
However, in 1972 the UK signed up to be a member of the European Union, and with this accepted European law to be supreme in certain areas so long as Parliament does not explicitly override it (see the ex parte Factortame case).
The case was brought on 18 May 1989 by Factortame before the House of Lords (Lord Bridge, Lord Brandon, Lord Oliver, Lord Goff and Lord Jauncey) who upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal on the grounds that English law did not contain any rule allowing a preliminary injunction against the application of an Act of Parliament.

Exchequer of Pleas

Court of Exchequerbaron of the exchequerCourt of the Exchequer
One case was from the Court of Chancery, and the other from the equity branch of the Court of the Exchequer.
As well as appeals to the Exchequer Chamber, the court also allowed appeals to the House of Lords, which was first used in 1660 for the case of Fanshawe v Impey and confirmed in 1677.

Indictment and arrest of Augusto Pinochet

Augusto Pinochet's arrest and trialAugusto Pinochet was indictedPinochet
A recent example of the House of Lords reconsidering an earlier decision occurred in 1999, when the [[R v Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate Ex parte Pinochet Ugarte (No.2)|judgment]] in the case on the extradition of the former President of Chile Augusto Pinochet was overturned on the grounds that one of the Lords on the committee, Lord Hoffmann, was a Director of a charity closely allied with Amnesty International, which was a party to the appeal and had an interest to achieve a particular result.
There was a hard-fought 16-month legal battle in the House of Lords, then the highest court of the United Kingdom.

Tom Bingham, Baron Bingham of Cornhill

Lord BinghamLord Bingham of CornhillThomas Bingham, Baron Bingham of Cornhill
On 4 October 2004 a Committee of nine Lords, including both the Senior Law Lord Lord Bingham of Cornhill and Second Senior Law Lord Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, was convened to hear challenges to the indefinite detention of suspects under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, and on 16 December it announced an 8-1 ruling against the Government.
He was created a Life Peer as Baron Bingham of Cornhill, of Boughrood in the County of Powys, on 4 June 1996, enabling him to serve on the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords.

Irish House of Lords

House of LordsLordsHouse of the Lords
The Irish House of Lords regarded itself as the final court of appeal for Ireland, but the British Declaratory Act of 1719 asserted the right of further appeal from the Irish Lords to the British Lords.
The Lords was the highest court of appeal in Ireland, as the English (later British) Lords were in England.

Courts of Northern Ireland

High Court of Northern IrelandHigh CourtJudicature (Northern Ireland) Act 1978
Alternatively, cases raising important legal points could leapfrog from the High Court of England and Wales or High Court in Northern Ireland. In civil cases, the House of Lords could hear appeals from the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland and the Scottish Court of Session.
The Supreme Court has taken over the appellate jurisdiction formerly vested in the House of Lords.

Scots law

Scottish lawScotlandlaw
Leave to appeal is not a feature of the Scottish legal system and appeals proceeded when two Advocates certified the appeal as suitable.
Sources of common law in Scotland are the decisions of the Scottish courts and certain rulings of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (including its predecessor the House of Lords).

R v Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate, ex parte Pinochet

R v Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate Ex parte Pinochet Ugarte (No.2)R v Bow Street Stipendiary Magistrate, ex p Pinochet (No 2)a second, unprecedented case
A recent example of the House of Lords reconsidering an earlier decision occurred in 1999, when the [[R v Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate Ex parte Pinochet Ugarte (No.2)|judgment]] in the case on the extradition of the former President of Chile Augusto Pinochet was overturned on the grounds that one of the Lords on the committee, Lord Hoffmann, was a Director of a charity closely allied with Amnesty International, which was a party to the appeal and had an interest to achieve a particular result.
R v Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate, ex parte Pinochet Ugarte (No 2) was an English legal case which involved the unprecedented setting aside of a House of Lords judgment based upon the possibility of bias.

James Parke, 1st Baron Wensleydale

Sir James ParkeJames Parke, Baron WensleydaleJames Parke
The House, however, ruled that the recipient of the peerage, Sir James Parke, was not entitled thereby to sit as a Lord of Parliament.
He resigned his post in 1855, angered by the passing of the Common Law Procedure Acts, but was recalled by the government, who gave him a peerage as Baron Wensleydale, of Walton to allow him to undertake the Judicial functions of the House of Lords, a job he fulfilled until his death on 25 February 1868.

List of United Kingdom House of Lords cases

List of House of Lords casesHouse of Lords case
This article lists by year the cases heard before the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords until it was replaced by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in October 2009.

David Neuberger, Baron Neuberger of Abbotsbury

Lord NeubergerLord Neuberger of AbbotsburyNeuberger J
One of the Law Lords (Lord Scott of Foscote) had retired on 30 September 2009 and the 12th, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, became the Master of the Rolls (the senior judge who heads civil justice in England and Wales).
He was a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary until the House of Lords' judicial functions were transferred to the new Supreme Court in 2009, at which point he became Master of the Rolls, the second most senior judge in England and Wales.

Clouds of Witness

The novel Clouds of Witness (1926) by Dorothy L. Sayers depicts in the House of Lords the fictional trial of a duke who is accused of murder.
Wimsey travels to New York to find her, makes a daring and dangerous transatlantic flight back to London, and arrives just in time to present his evidence at Denver's trial in the House of Lords.