UK Constitution source

  • Created by: elle54321
  • Created on: 03-05-19 19:00

Statutes, historical documents and Treaties

Very Important laws with constitutional significance.

Parliament is soverign so there are no higher laws.

E.g European Union Withdrawl 2019, 

Historical documents 

1215 Magna Carta - Clause 40 is still used, never will 'we... delay the right to justice'.

1689 Bill of Rights - estblished things like free election, freedom of speech in parliament (parliamentary privelidge). Defines soverignty, laws 'should not be questioned' out of parliament 

1701 Act Of Settlement - Established no catholic monarchs and the proection of jusge salaries

1911&1949 Parliament Act - Limits HOL to only veto for a year

Treaties are International agreements that parliament don't have a formal role in, most influential is ECA 1972.

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Common law and convention

Common law

Law developed by precedence 'stare decisis'.

In 2005 after the government detained potential terrorsts, refrencing hundred year old precedence it was decided evidence gained from torture could not be used.

Vaguely worded statute must be looked at by common law. 


Sailsbury convention- If it i in the party maifesto then it should be not vetoed, however 2017-2019 there is a minority government, therefore most of the electorate did not choose. 

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Authoritative text and Royal Prerogative

Authoritative texts

'The English Constitution' - Walter Bagehot. States how a cabinet government operates and how the monarch fits into current times

'An Introduction into the study of the rule of law of the consitution' A.V.Dicey popularised the phrase rule of law

Royal Prerogative

Shaped by convention and common law; the powers are given to the PM through patronage (can appoint ministers, e.g 2019 Penny Mordaunt was appointed as defence secretary.

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Constitutional changes 1997

1999 HOL Act - Removed all but 92 Hereditary peers.

BBBC, on 9th of May 2019 a debate on acquired brain injuries; Liason committeee to question PM. E-petitions started in 2001 and are debated by the BBBC, in 2019 2 petitions were debated in parliament, one for 2nd referendum and one to honour result of 2016. Contradictory. 

2005 Constitutional Reform Act removed the Law Lords from the HOL and made supreme court justices.

2011 Fixed Term Parliament Act ensures that a vote of no confidence has legal value and that elections are every 5 years unless 2/3 MP's agree.

2015 Recall of MP's Act, Fiona Onysara lost her constiuency after a petition. 

HRA (1998) - Majority of European Convention because UK law so that citizens could fight for their rights in the UK courts. A law to deny prioners the right to vote was declared against ECHR in 2005 Hirst v UK. In 2018 the government said they were looking to change the law, yet has not been mentioned since. 

FOI 2000 - 2009 expenses scandal.

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1997 refurendums lead to lots of devolution leading to the 198 Scottland Act 

2016 Scottland Act gave more financial power to Scottish Parliament 

Parliament can revert power, in 2002 and from 2017 until at least 2019.

It is debated if some region want devolution, 1997 Welsh refurendum only had 50% turnout 

The average 'yes' in regional mayor elections was 45%

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