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The Constitution

Introductory concepts ­ are that could reonably form the bis of part (a) questions

Defining a constitution

· A constitution essentially spells out the architecture of governance. It details the working

arrangements of government in a country and the collection of rules, written and unwritten

which regulate the…

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legal power resides in Westminster since "Parliament can make or unmake any law" (Dicey).

Defining sovereignty

· Sovereignty refers to absolute power, i.e. the exclusive right to control of governance. In the

ce of the UK, sovereignty in legal terms (de jure) is said to reside in Westminster since


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incompatible. It also states that citizens

have rights and government power is not

unlimited, e.g. the Belmarsh ce in 2004 which ended indefinite detention.

· Another feature is that it is unitary, i.e. it draws all power into a central source. In the UK all

legal power resides in Westminster…

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Amery, Harold Lki, and Ivor Jennings have each created a thesis or doctrine on the

constitution, e.g. Dicey established the twin pillars of the constitution: rule of law and

parliamentary sovereignty. Bagehot outlined the principle of Cabinet government, and this is

the theoretical model applied today.

Distinguishing between a codified…

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· Legal (de jure) sovereignty is located in Parliament. Dicey stated: "Parliament h the sole

power to make or unmake any law." This means that it h ultimate legal power and its

actions cannot be over-ridden by any other body.

· Some power h been transferred downwards to the new…

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Devolution can be repealed by a simple Act of Parliament. Margaret Thatcher scrapped the

Greater London Council and six Metropolitan Boroughs in 1986. In relation to Northern

Ireland, home rule w imposed by Edward Heath in 1972 and since power sharing w

introduced the sembly h been suspended (in 2002,…

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limited in their ability to change governing arrangements by having to go through lengthy

and complex procedures. a result, the Labour government were able to incorporate the

European Convention on Human Rights into UK law via a simple Act of Parliament.

· The UK constitution provides strong government. Whilst not…

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· The UK judiciary h not been overtly politicised since they do not have to act final arbiters

of the constitution. It would be undesirable to have judges enter the political thicket in

relation to controversial issues such abortion or the death penalty, they do in the USA.

Instead it…

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nature and balance of government. This historical principle h stood the test of time, so it

would seem foolish to tamper with it.

· Who would write a codified constitution? The debate would be unnecessarily divisive (

w the ce in 1911 over the House of Lords) and political consensus…

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of the people on a whim underlines the need for codification.

· Since most of the constitution is unwritten it is unknowable. This means that citizens rely on

government to play by largely unwritten rules. For instance a road map to guide the

Monarch to what to do should in…


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