Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Website of UK Supreme Court Becomes Independent From the Government

The UK supreme court changes its website in December 2013 and Lord Hope is finally proved right.

The story started when eight years ago the UK supreme court was refused its own address. In 2005, Lord Hope has said that those things are important in the technological era we live in. Hope became deputy president of the court and even though he retired from this post earlier in 2013, he has worked on things concerning the web address of the court and its street address.

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Nowadays, top-level domains are generic suffixes like .com and .net, plus country codes like .uk. what comes before this suffix is the so called second-level domain: .co, .ac, .gov. however, some important national institutions were allowed to share a second-level domain. Such institutions are the parliament, the police, the British Library and the Ministry of Defence. They use their own name or initials, followed by the country code. This plays the role of emphasizing their independence while at the same time it enhances their status.

Obviously, it is expected that the address for the UK supreme court would be supremecourt.uk. However, the court was not allowed to use it.

The response of the government officials was that this would be too expensive to be bought. It would cost a minimum of £125,000. Furthermore, no one could be sure whether the naming committee would allow “supremecourt” as a second-level domain because it is relatively small institution where few email addresses would be derived from.

The new court was obliged to use the web address supremecourt.gov.uk. This implied how tight it was to the government and its will and not to much an actual safeguard against unlawful government actions. Eight years ago there was an announcement that has proved Lord Hope’s predictions right.

In December 2013, a change in the web address of the supreme court of the United Kingdom was discussed because it was necessary to show its independent constitutional position as a separate branch of government.  The other alternative was shifting the own portal of the government which was impossible to do.

The final decision is that from 6 January 2014, the domain address of the court will be supremecourt.co.uk and a similar change would be implemented for the judicial committee of the council which hears appeals from some Commonwealth countries.