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Specification: 

  • AQA Component 1, Section 3.1.1.4: The judiciary

  • Edexcel Component 4.1: The Supreme Court and its interactions with, and influence over, the legislative and policymaking processes

Background: what you need to know 

The article discusses a ruling by the UK Supreme Court in the case of Shahida Begum, the so-called ‘jihadi bride’ who was deprived of her UK citizenship by the Home Office in 2019, after she went to Syria to join Isis and married one of its members. It illustrates the way in which the Court has to balance the rights of the individual with the issue of national security, which was at the heart of the government’s argument to exclude her from the UK. In this case the latter consideration prevailed.

Click to read the article below and then answer the questions:

Shamima Begum cannot return to UK for citizenship battle, Supreme Court rules

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • Explain and analyse three ways in which the Supreme Court influences the UK’s legislative and policymaking processes. [9 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2

  • Evaluate the view that the Supreme Court exercises effective influence over the UK Executive and Parliament. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

TIP: The Shamima Begum case is a good example of the Supreme Court in action. You must be able to cite other prominent cases where it has interacted with the UK Executive and Parliament. These could include the 2017 ruling on the activation of Article 50, paving the way for the Brexit process to begin, and the 2019 ruling on Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament. These cases were covered by the FT here:

UK Supreme Court rules MPs must vote on triggering Brexit

Supreme Court ruling: the 5 main findings

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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