"The judiciary shall decide matters before them impartially, on the basis of facts and in accordance with the law, without any restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason."
The Judiciary of England and Wales has its own website. It used to have .gov in the address (URL). It is now www.judiciary.uk
Although the change seems to be minor, it was made "to reflect the constitutionally independent position of the judiciary" and that is of massive importance to everyone.
It lies at the very heart of the rule of law. The change of address is an assertion that the judiciary is independent from the legislature (Parliament) and also the Executive (Ministers).
The weekend also saw a protest in London at which people demanded the release from prison of Tommy Robinson who was imprisoned following his guilty plea to contempt of court - Previous post.
Mr Robinson was guilty of breaching an order imposed by the Crown Court which prevented - and continues to prevent - reporting in relation to criminal cases being heard at the Crown Court in Leeds.
The criminal cases have come about following a lengthy and difficult investigation by the Police. The individual defendants are entitled to the presumption of innocence and they have a right to a fair trial both under common law and under the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 6).
In fact, the reporting restriction operates so as to postpone reporting and once the restriction ceases to have effect then full reporting will be possible. This form of order (a postponement order) may only be made where the order appears to be necessary "for avoiding a substantial risk of prejudice to the administration of justice in those proceedings, or in any other proceedings pending or imminent, ..."
The power to commit an individual to prison for contempt of court originated in our common law and it is intended to both uphold the authority of the court and to support the fairness of court proceedings. Crucially, the judges exercising this power are independent of the government. Even Ministers can be held to be in contempt - see the House of Lords - M v Home Office  1 AC 377;  UKHL 5 - Lords Keith, Templeman, Griffiths, Browne-Wilkinson and Woolf.
It follows logically from the independence of the judiciary that it is NOT within the power of government Ministers to overrule the judge and order Mr Robinson's release.
Since 1960 there is a right of appeal in relation to contempt of court - see Administration of Justice Act 1960 section 13.
Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary:
1. The independence of the judiciary shall be guaranteed by the State
and enshrined in the Constitution or the law of the country. It is the
duty of all governmental and other institutions to respect and observe
the independence of the judiciary.
2. The judiciary shall decide matters before them impartially, on the
basis of facts and in accordance with the law, without any
restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressures, threats or
interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason.
3. The judiciary shall have jurisdiction over all issues of a
judicial nature and shall have exclusive authority to decide whether an
issue submitted for its decision is within its competence as defined by
4. There shall not be any inappropriate or unwarranted interference
with the judicial process, nor shall judicial decisions by the courts be
subject to revision. This principle is without prejudice to judicial
review or to mitigation or commutation by competent authorities of
sentences imposed by the judiciary, in accordance with the law.
5. Everyone shall have the right to be tried by ordinary courts or
tribunals using established legal procedures. Tribunals that do not use
the duly established procedures of the legal process shall not be
created to displace the jurisdiction belonging to the ordinary courts or
6. The principle of the independence of the judiciary entitles and
requires the judiciary to ensure that judicial proceedings are conducted
fairly and that the rights of the parties are respected.
7. It is the duty of each Member State to provide adequate resources to enable the judiciary to properly perform its functions.
United Nations - Human Rights - Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary
Judiciary - Independence
Sir Henry Brooke - History of Judicial Independence in England and Wales