Guy Gozem

QC at Lincoln House Chambers | Tower 12 | Manchester

Rule of Law and the Oath

Constitutional Reform Act 2005

Part 1

The rule of law


1 The rule of law

This Act does not adversely affect—

(a) the existing constitutional principle of the rule of law, or

(b) the Lord Chancellor’s existing constitutional role in relation to that principle.


3 Guarantee of continued judicial independence

(1) The Lord Chancellor, other Ministers of the Crown and all with responsibility for matters relating to the judiciary or otherwise to the administration of justice must uphold the continued independence of the judiciary.

(4) The following particular duties are imposed for the purpose of upholding that independence.

(6) The Lord Chancellor must have regard to—

(a) the need to defend that independence;

(b) the need for the judiciary to have the support necessary to enable them to exercise their functions;

(c) the need for the public interest in regard to matters relating to the judiciary or otherwise to the administration of justice to be properly represented in decisions affecting those matters.


17  Lord Chancellor’s oath

(2)The oath is—

“I,     , do swear that in the office of Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain I will respect the rule of law, defend the independence of the judiciary and discharge my duty to ensure the provision of resources for the efficient and effective support of the courts for which I am responsible.     So help me God.”


Courts Act 2003

Part 1

Maintaining the court system

The general duty

1 The general duty

(1) The Lord Chancellor is under a duty to ensure that there is an efficient and effective system to support the carrying on of the business of—

(a) the Senior Courts

(aa) the Court of Protection

(b) county courts, and

(c) magistrates’ courts,

and that appropriate services are provided for those courts.


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