unit 2 as government and politics

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The British Constitution
A constitution establishes rules and principles that govern an organisation. They
Set out the divisions of governmental activities outlining their structure
The relationships between institutions an showing their dependence
The limitations upon the powers of rulers and guarantees the rights of the ruled.
Their purpose
Provide legitimacy to those in power
protects freedom and defines power of authority
Encourages government stability
to set out spheres of influence
create a fresh start
Characteristics of a Constitution
Written Unwritten
Codified Uncodified
Flexible Rigid
Unitary Federal
Britain has a written and uncodified constitution. It is written down but not all in the same place. It is also
flexible, allowing it to be altered via the law making process. It's unitary rather than federal so Westminster
makes laws for all parts of the UK.
Constitutional Renewal
For Against
Flexibility allows for the growth of a constitution It allows the Eu to enforce its control
and for it to move with the times. creates restrictions on the UK
Freedom of information 2005 exposed the scandals EU court of human rights
Changes to modernise the HoC ie. Creating more Freedom of information act
reasonable hours IMF
As this takes precedence over British law
Does the UK need a written constitution?
As it has evolved and is uncodified there is nowhere where it can be clearly seen and it has
been added to over time. A written document would provide a clear view and remove
It would prevent executive dominance 'elective dictatorship' limiting their powers and
preventing eras such as Tony Blair where he was able to remove a question time, and with
strong majority could pass a large amount.
It would provide an up to date statement of our rights
Makes it easier for judges to uphold the constitution.
Its worked for over several hundred years, why change it?
No demand for change
allows the making of adjustments
Written constitution doesn't mean freedom ­ Soviet union had one but no human rights
Written constitutions don't always allow flexibility and often don't last, France had lots

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The Judiciary
The role of judges, they are involved in the interpretation of the constitution
they preside over criminal trials
deliver sentences
peacefully resolve civil disputes
they uphold the ill of the legislature
they perform judicial review
Chair enquiries
Their independence is secured by the way they are selected, their security of tenure and their nutrality,
They are granted immunity from the laws of defamation and their salary does not have to be aproved by
parliament.…read more


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