The Judiciary’s foremost role is to defend and uphold the constitution and to assure rule of law prevails in a country. In some ways it is the watchdog for the rights and liberties of the citizens. The Judiciary acts as a guardian of the constitution, arbitrates between the people and the legislature. Having said that has the Judiciary become puissant? Should we cap the amount of power it posses at present? I will discuss the question at hand by discussing the role of judiciary, the importance of the constitution and the conflict between constitutionalism and democracy.
The Judiciary serves an essential role in protecting us from erroneous doing of others. It protects the weak from the strong, the powerless from the powerful, defend individuals from the unwarranted and unlawful exercise of power by the state. This is broadly the function of any Judiciary system. If a dispute is brought to the court it’s the court's responsibility to ascertain that the facts and the evidence given by the contestant are correct and precise as required by the court. After the facts have been furnished and established, the court then decides what law is applicable for a particular circumstance. The judiciary becomes the interpreter of law and applies the law to disputes and conflicts that may arise, which in my opinion is its prime function.
Article 28 of the Irish constitution gives power to the Government, to carry out laws into effect with the assistance of police force, military force and civil service. Where it says,
“The executive power of the State shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, be exercised by or on the authority of the Government.” (Irishstatutebook.ie, 2012).
Ireland strict regime has made it a fair country to be a part of, as no one is given preferential treatment over one another. Acton said power tends to corrupt, which can be a case here if laws aren’t enforced (Heywood, 2007, p46). There should not be any limit on this aspect of the Judiciary as it prevents corruption and keeps the country well balanced. The political system can always reverse the court decisions or make amendments to the existing law. The most recent one has been amendment made in 2013 to the "Irish abortion legislation", after the death of Savita Halappanavar due to refusal of abortion.
The Oireachtas has the sole and exclusive power of making laws for the state. The competence of judiciary’s and its authority to interpret the Constitution have become widely accepted as an indispensable feature of the constitutional system. The rule of law and constitutional democracy should go hand-in-hand as expected, but sometimes they might not always be in harmony and result in a clash. The Court’s judgment must reflect the nation best understanding of its fundamental values. Article 34 to 37 of the Irish constitution provides for courts and trial of offences. Article 34 states,
" Justice shall be administered in courts established by law by judges...