The UK Constitution Overview

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  • The UK Constitution
    • Reforms
      • The 1998 devolution Acts
        • Scotland
        • Northern Ireland
        • Wales
      • House of Lords Reforms
        • 1999 - Removal of hereditary peers
        • 1958 Life Peerages Act
        • Several attempts since to further reform, 2011 proposed by Lib Dems
        • 2014 House of Lords Reform Act; introduces the principle of resignation from the House of Lords, and allows for the expulsion of members.
      • The Human Rights Act 1998
      • 2005 Constitutional Reform Act removed Lord Chancellor and established Supreme Court
    • Sources
      • Conventions
        • Such as the Salisbury Convention in the House of Lords - evolutions throughout history.
      • Common Law
        • Also known as judicial precedent, created through judge's interpretation of Statue Law.
      • Statue Law, or Acts of Parliament
        • All Acts of Parliament throughout history that haven't been repealed, including acts such as the Scotland Act 1998, House of Lords Act 1999
      • Tradition
        • The practices of parliament - for example, no monarchs in the Commons.
      • The EU
        • Such as the HRA 1998 - the EU affects the UK constitution because of the treaties signed (Maastricht, Amsterdam, Lisbon).
    • Nature
      • It's uncodified, meaning that it's not all written down in one place. (See sources)
        • Some would argue that a codified constitution is necessary, as it would introduce entrenched human rights, limit the executive, and modernise the UK.
        • Others argue that the inherent flexibility and organic nature of the uncodified constitution should remain, and that it should not be codified.
      • The division of powers is somewhat murky - parliament is de jura sovereign.
        • However, devolutionary acts are effectively entrenched, as is the UK's membership of the EU (without referendum).
        • Some would suggest that the EU is sovereign, due to the fact that the ECJ is de facto binding on the UK.

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