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Duration: 1 hour

They are the UK's most powerful arbiters of justice and now, for the first time, four of the Justices of the Supreme Court talk frankly and openly about the nature of justice and how they make their decisions. The film offers a revealing glimpse of the human characters behind the judgments and explores why the Supreme Court and its members are fundamental to our democracy.

The 11 men and one woman who make up the UK Supreme Court have the last say on the most controversial and difficult cases in the land. What they decide binds every citizen. But are their rulings always fair, do their feelings ever get in the way of their judgments and are they always right?

In the first 14 months of the court they have ruled on MPs' expenses, which led to David Chaytor's prosecution, changed the status of pre-nuptial agreements and battled with the government over control orders and the Human Rights Act.

They explain what happens when they cannot agree and there is a divided judgment, and how they avoid letting their personal feelings effect their interpretation of the law. And they face up to the difficult issue of diversity; there is only one woman on the court, and she is the only Justice who went to a non-fee-paying school.

Last on

Tue 26 Jun 2012 00:15 BBC Four

  • The Supreme Court Justices.

    The Supreme Court Justices.

    Justices of the Supreme Court talk about the nature of justice and how they make their decisions.

  • Baroness Hale

    Baroness Hale

    Lady Hale is the first and only woman on the Supreme Court. Previously an esteemed academic at the University of Manchester she is an expert in family law and social welfare and she published the groundbreaking feminist text Women and the Law. Sitting for 10 years on the Law Commission, she was instrumental in introducing the Children Act 1989, the single most important piece of legislation in the UK granting protection to minors.

  • Lord Phillips

    Lord Phillips

    Lord Phillips is the inaugural President of the Supreme Court. Starting life as a barrister he was promoted to High Court Judge, where he presided over the high profile Maxwell Brothers fraud case. He went on to chair the BSE Enquiry and was part of a panel of judges who heard the extradition case of the former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet. He has occupied two of the most senior legal positions in England and Wales, serving as Master of the Rolls and Lord Chief Justice.

  • Lord Kerr

    Lord Kerr

    Born in Belfast, Lord Kerr is the only Northern Irish justice at the Supreme Court. He is also the youngest on the court. As former Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, he was responsible for marshalling the Northern Irish judicial system through a difficult period following the Good Friday Agreement. He later served as an ad-hoc Judge on the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and became Northern Ireland’s Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.

  • Lord Hope

    Lord Hope

    Born in Edinburgh, Lord Hope is one of two Scottish justices on the Supreme Court. He is part of a rich legal heritage, dating back to Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall who was Lord Advocate to King Charles I. Reaching the top of the Scottish legal system, he served as Lord President of the Court of Session and later Lord Justice General, where he controversially permitted an experiment in televising trials in Scottish courts.

  • BBC Four Justice Season

    BBC Four Justice Season

    This programme is part of the BBC Four Justice Season, a wide-ranging debate on the state of justice in Britain and the world today.

    Go to the BBC Four Justice Season website

Credits

Producer
Nicola Stockley
Director
Nicola Stockley
Executive Producer
Diana Martin

Broadcasts

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