The Discourse of Judicial Power and the UK Supreme Court

Around the world, there are numerous examples of backlashes against judicial power. As courts become more assertive in their use of public law to constrain political power, political elites often respond by curbing (or threatening to curb) judicial power. In some contexts, the backlash against judicial power has led to a major and controversial restructuring of the relationship between the judiciary and the political branches (e.g., Hungary and Poland). This paper situates recent threats to the power of the UK Supreme Court in comparative perspective. The paper considers: a) the extent to which the contemporary discourse of judicial power in the UK employs certain generic court-curbing tropes; and b) the extent to which this discourse may be changing to justify a new phase of court curbing directed, in particular, at the UK Supreme Court.