Judicial Activism in Comparative Perspective by Kenneth M. Holland (eds.)

By Kenneth M. Holland (eds.)

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Crown prerogative is the executive power to act in certain areas, usually related to foreign policy, unfettered even by Parliament. In 1984, following a series of work stoppages, the Prime Minister, acting under the prerogative, suspended a staff trade union at the Government Communications Headquarters, a supersecret code breaking agency. 30 Few court cases in modem Britain have generated so much press coverage and public discussion. A trial court ruled for the unions, sending constitutional lawyers scurrying.

The facts are familiar: an ex-spy's memoirs were not supposed to be published, according to the terms of his employment, without the approval of the government. A. K. and sought an injunction to prohibit newspapers from publishing excerpts or even stories covering the government's legal maneuvering to stop the book's distribution abroad. S. were waving the book before customs agents and entrepreneurs were selling imported copies on London streets under the nose of the police - does not detract from the seriousness of the injunction and the threatened prosecution of the newspapers.

The use of legal opinions as a resource in the political battles which occur within town halls may be of considerable significance in terms of the role which law and lawyers then begin to play in the day-to-day decision-making processes of local government. ' 37 At the national level, too, the courts have become involved in the stream of policy-making in several contentious areas. For example, a distressed mother filed a suit against the National Health Service 42 Judicial Activism in Comparative Perspective challenging its policy regarding abortions for minors, which required no parental consent38 The courts vindicated the right of her sixteen year old daughter to the procedure, but with speeches which meandered back and forth between procedural and substantive issues.

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