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1 General Characteristics of the UK Constitution

1 General Characteristics of the UK Constitution

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Published by manavmelwani

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Published by: manavmelwani on Apr 24, 2010
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04/18/2013

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y
 
The constitution is unentrenched, unwritten and uncodified unlike many otherdemocracies. Should the UK have a written constitution?
o
 
Unentrenched means it is not legally difficult to change the rules of theconstitution. (Whereas most countries with written constitutions entrench the rulesof the constitution to prevent governments from changing to constitution to favourthemselves/their party etc...)
o
 
Unwritten meaning that there isnt one document where it is written down (unlikecountries like the USA or France for example) The rules of the constitution are to befound in acts of parliament, in decisions of the courts, parliamentary debates etc...
o
 
M
ost other countries try to sum up the important constitutional principles to formsort of a code. We however do not do this.
o
 
The UK constitution has been constantly evolving and seems to work. There hasnever been a particular moment in which it became particularly desirable toproduce a written constitution. (e.g. many countries do this after gainingindependence from colonial rule. Others adopt ones after the end of the war. Forexample Germany adopted a new constitution after WW2 to ensure such a situationwouldnt reoccur)
y
 
The system is a Constitutional monarchy. Note the legal importance of the crown. Shouldthe UK be a republic (a state with an elected head of state)?
o
 
I
n many countries, the heads of states are figureheads and quite separate from theirheads of government
o
 
I
t is important to realise that there is a separation between the monarch and thecrown. (we use the phrase the crown to describe many things. E.g. ministers of thecrown, the crown prosecution service)
o
 
The crown is part of the government, the legislature, and the judicial system
y
 
The UK parliament is said to be sovereign (though now subject to EU law):
I
s it?
I
f so, is thatdemocratic?
o
 
The basic idea here is that our courts will always give effects to acts of parliamenteven if them deem them undesirable
o
 
Countries with written constitutions normally also have a bill of rights whichprevents parliament from passing laws incompatible with the constitution or somemechanism to strike down such laws
y
 
There is a Human Rights Act (1998) but it does not forbid parliament from making laws thatinterfere with human rights.
y
 
There is no separation of powers between the executive and the legislature (there has onlybeen an official separation of the judiciary and the other organs with the formation of theSupreme Court on 1
st
October 2009)  does that matter? Are checks and balances as goodas separation of powers?
o
 
All political executives have to be members of parliament
o
 
I
nstead of a strict separation, we have a system with many checks and balances
o
 
The fear of lack of separation is that too much power in the hands of one group caneasily lead to abuse of the power
y
 
M
embership of the EU. This affects parliamentary sovereignty.
I
s there a democratic deficitor a bureaucratic surplus in EU membership?

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