The judiciary is one of the three arms of government, along with the parliament and the executive. The judiciary is independent of the other two arms of government. This independence is one of the most vital safeguards of a democracy. Judges are bound by their oath and affirmation "to do right to all manner of people according to the laws and usages of the State without fear or favour, affection or ill will".
Parliament's function is to enact laws. The courts are bound by statute (laws made by parliament) and by decisions made in previous cases (precedent). The courts also pronounce law in those areas where parliament has not legislated. The power of the court to pronounce law is called upon only where the authority of a statute or previous case law is lacking. Under the constitution, parliament is supreme. Parliament can change the law in any way it chooses.
In Western Australia, the executive is constituted by the State Governor, who represents the crown, the government of the day and the public service. For all practical purposes, the executive is constituted by the Premier and relevant Ministers, who in turn oversee the public service. The role of the executive is to administer the laws enacted by parliament.
Last updated: 2-Jul-2014
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