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Commonwealth Parliamentary Association joins events to mark 20 years of the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles

Effective Parliaments are one of the principal institutions of any functioning democracy and they are central to the attainment of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 on the role of effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association played a key role in the establishment of the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles on the separation of powers (officially titled: Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles on the Three Branches of Government), which highlights the importance of the separation of powers between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary to ensure effective governance and democracy. The Latimer House Principles provide guidance on the role of the separation of powers in the Commonwealth, its effectiveness in providing democratic governance and the role of civil society.

First drafted in 1998-99, the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles were further revised and updated before being officially adopted at the 18th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in December 2003 in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association was a partner in the establishment of the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles together with partners: The Commonwealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association (CMJA), the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) and the Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA). Representatives from each organisation form the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles Working Group.

Commonwealth Parliamentarians outline the role of the separation of powers

Commonwealth Rule of Law Seminar Series

Commonwealth Parliamentarians joined a wide range of stakeholders from across the Commonwealth for a seminar to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles held by the Rule of Law Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat. The panel discussion examined the critical importance of adhering to the principles whilst also reflecting on their relevancy in modern democracies given existing threats to good governance.

  • The Speaker of the House of Representatives at the Parliament of Malaysia, H.E. Johari bin Abdul, represented the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association at the webinar and spoke about the importance of the independence of Parliaments in the wider context of the separation of powers and holding the Executive to account. The Speaker also spoke about increasing the representation of women in Parliament and engaging with young people and the wider public.
  • Justice Charles Mkandawire, a Judge of Appeal at the Supreme Court of Malawi and Immediate Past President of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association outlined the importance of the independence of the Judiciary, especially in regard to judicial appointments.
  • The Minster of Legal and Constitutional Affairs of Jamaica, Hon. Marlene Malahoo-Forte, KC, MP, spoke about the role of the Executive and the Legislature in upholding democracy and democratic participation. She also outlined the key role of the Government in upholding the separation of powers.
  • Mukhtar Adesunkanmi, Assistant Research Officer at the Commonwealth Secretariat, provided a youth view and spoke about the key role that the separation of powers plays in supporting all democratic movements and freedom of speech.
  • The moderator for the webinar was Brian Speers, Immediate Past President of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association.

Above: The Speaker of the House of Representatives at the Parliament of Malaysia, H.E. Johari bin Abdul (top right), represented the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association at the webinar and spoke alongside Justice Charles Mkandawire (below right); the Minster of Legal and Constitutional Affairs of Jamaica, Hon. Marlene Malahoo-Forte, KC, MP (top left); and Mukhtar Adesunkanmi and Brian Speers (below left).

Commonwealth Parliamentarians ask is Latimer House still relevant?

66th CPC Workshop on the separation of powers

Recently, the President of the Senate of Malaysia, Senator H.E. Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar outlined the role of Malaysia's three branches of government and stressed the need for the re-enactment of the Parliamentary Service Act at a workshop on the 20 years of the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles at the 66th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Malaysia.

This workshop session focused on the significance of the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles and examined strategies to strengthen the relationship among the three branches of government. Panellists also included the President of the Senate of Trinidad and Tobago, Senator Hon. Nigel de Freitas; the President of the Senate of Australia, Senator Hon. Sue Lines; and Professor Hakeem Yusuf, Professor of Global Law at Derby University.

To find out more about the workshop and its outcomes, please click here.

What is the impact of the separation of powers between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary on democracy today?

CPA BLOG SERIES

As we mark 20 years of the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles, this series of articles examines the ‘Power of Parliaments’ and the impact of the separation of powers.

Read the blog series by clicking here.

THE PARLIAMENTARIAN: Separation of Powers: 20 Years of the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles

Latest Issue:

The Parliamentarian: 2023 Issue Four: Separation of powers: 20 years of the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles:

This issue brings together experts to examine their relevance today and to highlight the importance of the separation of powers between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary to ensure effective governance and democracy.

Article contributors include the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Magistrates' and Judges' Association; a Senior Library Clerk in the UK House of Commons Library who is an expert on the separation of powers in UK Overseas Territories; the Immediate Past President of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association; a former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia; a Research Fellow from the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICwS); and a Deputy Clerk at the National Assembly of The Gambia.

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