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The Constitution
Constitution ­ The rules that govern the government. Meant to check and constrain
Constitutionalism ­ Constitutional rule or authority. The government rules under the
laws of a constitution.
Codified ­ Written: all the rules and regulations of the constitution are written in one
single legal…

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The UK has the classic example of a `Westminster Model' government.
It has been adopted by other countries, especially former colonies.
The government governs through Parliament: the central to the constitutional
structure to the UK, located at Westminster.
Government is drawn from Parliament and is accountable to Parliament: Parliamentary

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Establishes the constitutional supremacy of central government over principal or
local bodies.
They do this by resting sovereignty in the national legislature: abolish the weak, or
strengthen all other institutions.
The UK possesses an unrivalled and unchangeable legislative authority.
Parliamentary Sovereignty

A Federal Constitution:

A constitution that is based on…

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Key unwritten element of the constitution.
Lacks clear and unambiguous definitions.
No legal consequences if government ignored conventions.
Upheld by practical political circumstances: they make politics workable.
The convention that the Royal Assent (monarchs agreement to Legislation) is always
granted that it is upheld by the monarchs desire not to…

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Sovereignty: the principle of absolute and unlimited power, implying either supreme legal
authority or unchanging political power.
It defines the location of the supreme constitutional power.
The sovereign body has the ability to shape or reshape the constitution itself.
It defines the powers of subordinate bodies.
Located in the `Crown…

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To warn
To encourage

EU Membership:

Has growing implications for the UK
Sovereignty within the UK is now best understood as `Parliamentary Sovereignty
within the context of EU membership'
Membership encroaches on Parliamentary Sovereignty in 3 main ways:
European Law is higher than statute law: since the Factor tame Case…

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Government decisions cannot be Creates the possibility that the
overturned by judges. government may become oppressive
Parliamentary Government: based and tyrannical.
on Westminster Model: Centralisation
Government gets its own way in The PM seems to dominate the cabinet
Parliament. HOC is more powerful than HOL
Allows government to take strong…

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Referendums were held to approve the creation of each of the new government
PR electoral systems were used for each of the newly established bodies
Human Rights Act, 1998
`Stage One' of the reform of the House of Lords, 2000 ­ removal of all apart
from 92 hereditary peers…

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Cameron held a referendum (in which both parties compromised) and gave the
public the choice of a majoritarian system AV.
Lords Reform: Both parties were committed to a largely or entirely elected
second chamber. But the elected second chamber may become a rival to the
Commons. But, May 2011 ­…

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Greater certainty that rules can be Can easily become outdated and fail to
enforced. respond to an ever-changing political
Limited Government environment.
Cut government down to size. Judicial Tyranny
Provide a solution to elective Judges are unelected and socially
dictatorship by ending Parliamentary unrepresentative.
Sovereignty. Will reflect the preferences and…


Old Sir


This well-organised and fairly comprehensive overview of UK constitutional arrangements will be very useful for many students as an exemplar of how to organise revision notes. Students wishing to develop their ability to discuss issues such as the efficacy of the Westminster model nor constitutional reform will find some good prompts in the example sections.




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