Judicial role

For centuries the House of Lords was the supreme court of appeal on points of law for the whole of the UK in civil cases and for England, Wales and Northern Ireland in criminal cases.

This was an unusual role for a legislative body: in most other Parliaments the judiciary is separate from the legislature (another term for Parliament).

From 1 October 2009 the judicial powers of the House of Lords transferred to the new and separate Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

Key dates

Key dates

From the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 to the Constitutional Reform Act 2005

Contemporary context

Contemporary context

The role of the first Justices of the Supreme Court following the creation of a separate Supreme Court

Expert interview

Expert interview

A video clip on the changes to the judicial role of Parliament brought about by the creation of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

Further your research

Further your research

More in depth sources of information on the former judicial role of the House of Lords

Related information

Browse archived judgments delivered by the Law Lords from 14 November 1996 to 30 July 2009