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Nature and Functions of a
Constitution
They determine how political power should be distributed within the
state: the balance of power between gov't and Parl't, president and PM,
and between 2 chamber systems.
The establish political processes e.g the rules between institutions and
the rules that they operate within.
Set the limits of the gov't's power. UK IS AN EXCEPTION Parl't has
sovereignty so, legally, it can do what it likes.
They assert the rights of the citizen against the state. E.g. USA Bill of
Rights
Defines the territory that makes up the state and how nationality is
established.
Constitutions are amended from time to time and they contain the
rules for making amendments. UK IS AN EXCEPTION it evolves over
time through passing statutes. E.gs: France need referendum, USA
needs 2/3 of Congress and ¾ of 50 states need to approve the change.…read more

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Codified Uncodified
One document which gathers the major rules Derived from many different sources
about the system of gov't. Bill of Rights not attached
Usually the product of independence
Flexible, easier to change
struggles (USA), revolutions (France), or war
(Germany post WW2).
Higher form of law to which all other laws
passed must conform
Generally entrenched
Judges can overrule laws passed as
`unconstitutional' ­ judicial review
Detail the powers of various institutions of
gov't
Embodies timeless principles e.g Bill of Rights
USA
Are generally rigid, not easily changed.
Codified and Uncodified…read more

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Strengths Weaknesses
Gov't can act decisively no Lack of restraints may be a
excessive restraints danger to minorities
Easily changed Many people are ignorant of its
Traditional has stood the existence
test of time Outdated
improves public support elected gov't dominates Parl't
Strengths and Weaknesses of an
Uncodified Constitution…read more

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The UK does not have a
codified constitution Uncodified and partly
because: written ­ no single
document
· HISTORICALLY, Britain
has had no sufficiently Made up of several Culture and
traumatic event to different sources (see
next slide)
tradition of
constitutional gov't
provoke a new start
· GEOGRAPHICAL
ISOLATION and security The Uncodified
from invasion British
Constitution
· ADAPTABILITY when
under pressure
No set of `timeless
No laws are
principles' (no bill of
entrenched
rights)
Courts cannot overrule
laws made by Parl't…read more

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SOURCES OF THE UK
CONSTITUTION
This shows how the constitution as a whole is
formed. Some parts are written, others are not.
Tradition Common
Historical Law
Principles
Conventions UK Constitution Statutes
Eg Salisbury Eg HRA, FIA, Life
Convention Peerages Act, HofL
(manifesto policy Act
should not be
blocked by HofL…read more

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