I rectified YouTube's automated transcript of former UKSC President Lord Neuberger's speech starting at 7:44. I would've surmised that the UK's parliamentary sovereignty empowered British laypeople and weakened the UK executive far more than before 1960? The Crown Proceedings Act 1947 curbed sovereign immunity that was absolute before. Doubtless under fiefdom, and feudalism and monarchy, the executive looked more powerful when peasants were enslaved.

But around 1966, 900 years after the Battle of Hastings and since then, things have changed. The judges have got much more, if you like, powerful or influential. It started with an enormous growth of judicial review, that is, judges reviewing and overriding decisions made at various levels of government, all the way from ministers down to local planning authorities, and quashing their decisions if they didn't comply with the law. I think that the judges did this much more for a number of reasons:

  1. one was the executive had got more and more powerful.
  2. Secondly, I think that people had got more and more ready, after the Second World War and after life had calmed down, to get more assertive of their rights, had got more educated and more informed.
  3. And thirdly with the 1960s, a period none of you can remember but I can, people got much more questioning, much more disrespectful, and people were much more ready to challenge the government. And over the years from 1960 to 2000, those 40 years, the number of cases where the government's decisions were challenged increased from a few tens a year to almost ten thousand a year.

In pre-war Britain the executive was relatively weak as a result of the large increase in the electorate which produced a shift from Liberal to Labour as the main opposition to the Conservative party. This produced a period of shifting coalitions, with various "National" governments. As the party of the Prime Minister may not have had a secure majority, the executive was relatively weak. The executive could be overruled by a coalition of convenience in Parliament.

Post-war a much clearer party system emerged with Conservative and Labour alternating in power. The party in power often had a large majority and so was able to create law pretty much as they chose. The central figure of the PM grew in importance with the rise of first radio and tv in Parliament and the weekly showpiece of "Questions to the Prime Minister".

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