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The Constitution
Nature of the constitution
The role of a constitution:
Constitutions have the following functions:
They establish the distribution of power within a political system.
They establish the relationships between political institutions and individuals.
They define and establish the limits of government power.
They specify the rights of individual citizens and how they are to be protected.
They define the nature of citizenship and how individuals may obtain citizenship.
They establish the territory which comes under the jurisdiction of the government.…read more

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Codified and uncodified constitution
A codified constitution has the following features:
It is written in a single document.
It is therefore said to have a single source.
Constitutional laws are superior to other laws, a feature known as `dualism'
Special arrangements exist to establish new constitutional laws, amend existing ones or repeal
unwanted constitutional laws.
Codified constitutions normally come into existence at one point in time, often after a national
upheaval such as a revolution or the establishment of independence from a colonial master.…read more

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It also means the ultimate source of political power.
Legal sovereignty refers to the power to make laws. It is where power lies theoretically.
Political sovereignty refers to the location of power in very general terms. It is where power lies in
When sovereignty is located in an institution or individual office holder by a constitution, it cannot be
overruled or changed without a constitutional amendment. However, political sovereignty is a more
flexible concept.…read more

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European Union treaties The UK has signed a number of The Maastricht Treaty of 1992 and
treaties, mostly concerning the Lisbon (Reform) Treaty of 2007 both
transfer of power and transferred power from the UK to
sovereignty from the UK to the the EU
Works of authority These are the writings of The rule of law as described by
constitutional experts which nineteenth-century constitutional
describe constitutional expert, A.V. Dicey, establishes the
practice. They have so much principle of equality under the law.…read more

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There is a lack of separation of powers. This means that the executive and legislative branches are
not separated from each other and that the executive and legislative branches are not separated
from each other and that the executive (government) dominates the legislature (Parliament)
Sovereignty and the Constitution
Where does sovereignty lie in the British system?
This is a difficult question as the concept of sovereignty is uncertain. However, the following assertions
can be made:
Parliament is legally sovereign.…read more

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A way of making people sovereign other than an Referendum
How has sovereignty in the UK changed since 1997?
Although legal sovereignty undoubtedly lies with the UK Parliament, sovereignty in a more general sense has
moved. These are the ways it has charged since Labour began to reform the constitution in 1997:
A great deal of political sovereignty has been transferred to devolved administrations.
More sovereignty has been transferred to the European Union.…read more

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Typical Mistake***It is wrong to say the UK constitution is unwritten. In fact, most of it today is written. The
key point is that it is not codified: that is, written in a single document or source. Be careful not to write
`unwritten' when you mean `uncodified'.
In favour of codification Against codification
Clarity. Citizens know how power is distributed and Flexibility.…read more

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Lord Chancellor and a new Judicial Appointments Commission was
set up to ensure judicial independence.
Why did Labour reform the constitution?
Labour was keen to reform the constitution for a number of reasons.
Modernisation. The constitution looked out of date and out of step with the rest of Europe. New Labour
was modernising party.
Electoral advantage. Labour believed electoral reform would be popular and help it win votes,
especially in Scotland and Wales.
Democratisation.…read more

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Key changes
Government has been decentralised through devolution and the introduction of elected mayors.
Rights are better protected through the Human Rights Act and the Freedom of Information Act.
The House of Lords has, arguably, become a more effective check on the power of government.
The electoral systems of Scotland, Wales and Northern Island have been made more proportional.
The judiciary is more independent, making it more able to protect rights and check abuses of
governmental power.…read more


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