government and politics unit 2 definitions

definitions from unit 2

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Unit 2 key terms government and politics
A set of principles, which may be written or unwritten, that establishes the distribution of power
within a political system, relationships between political institutions, the limits of government
jurisdiction, the rights of citizens and the method of amending the constitution itself.
The process of setting out a constitution in an organised way in a single document
Uncodified constitution
A constitution which has not been written down in a single document in an organised form. An
uncodified constitution, like Britain's, is partly written and partly unwritten, but cannot be found in
one single form.
Judicial review
A process undertaken by senior courts where judges are required to interpret, re-interpret or clarify
constitutional rules. Judicial reviews take place in response to appeals by citizens or associations. In
this way the meaning of constitution can be clarified, adapted or applied to new circumstances.
Royal prerogative
This refers to the ancient, traditional powers enjoyed by the monarch. These powers do not require
the sanction of parliament, but are arbitrary. Since the latter part of the nineteenth century these
powers have passed from the monarch to the prime minister of the day.
Parliamentary government
A political system where parliament is a central feature. Government is drawn from parliament and is
accountable to parliament.
Parliamentary sovereignty
The principle that parliament is the ultimate source of all authority and power within the political
system. It also means that parliament is the ultimate source of all law and there is no higher legal
Constitutional reform
A process whereby the fundamental nature of the system government (as well as the relationships
between government institutions) is changed, or where change is proposed. In the case of the UK
this may also involve the process of codification.
Parliamentary reform
A process whereby reforms in the membership, powers or procedures of either both the houses of
parliament are made or proposed.
Human rights
Basic rights that all citizens can expect to enjoy. Key examples include freedom of expression,
freedom of association, freedom of worship, right to privacy and freedom from imprisonment
without trial.
Electoral reform
A process whereby the electoral system is changed or where there is a campaign for such change.

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A process of constitutional reform whereby power, but not legal sovereignty, is distributed to
national or regional institutions. In the UK this has meant transfer of power to institutions in Scotland,
wales and Northern Ireland, but not to the regions of England.
A political sentiment felt by the people who believe they have common circumstances of birth.…read more

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Open government
A principle and an aspiration that the process of the government should be made as open to the
public and parliamentary scrutiny as is possible and reasonable.
Judicial review
A process whereby the courts review decisions by the state or any public body in relation to its
citizens.…read more


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