Monday, October 5, 2009

First Monday in October . . . in London

Britain's Supreme Court heard its first case Monday - an appeal by five terrorism suspects who say the British government has overstepped its power by freezing their assets without a conviction.

For hundreds of years, Britain's highest court of appeal had been the Law Lords, a group of justices who were part of the House of Lords in Parliament. The decision to create a Supreme Court was meant to emphasize the separation of governmental powers, even if the change is largely in name and location only.

The 12 justices are no longer part of the House of Lords but are still Britain's most powerful judges. Shedding their past image, they wore no wigs, no robes and sat in a new courtroom equipped with cameras and microphones for their first hearing.

A bit of trivia – the official emblem incorporates 4 plants, representing the jurisdictions within the UK: the English rose, Welsh leek, Scottish thistle, and Northern Irish flax. Click here for more on the emblem, and to read a commemorative poem and some of the quotes engraved in the Law Library.

“Law is order and good law is good order” - Aristotle

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