Constitution Definitions

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Bill of Rights
An authoritative statement of the rights of citizens often entrenched as part of a codified constitution.
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Constitution
A constitution comprises rules that set out the distribution of power within a political system, establish the powers and functions of various institutions, regulates the relationship between the institutions and between the citizens and the state.
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Codified Constitution
A single document that sets out the laws, rules and principles on how a state is run and the rights of the citizens.
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Entrenched
Difficult to change.
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Fundamental Law
Law derived from decisions in court cases and from general customs.
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Judicial Review
The power of senior judges to review the actions of government and public authorities, declaring them unlawful if they have exceeded their authority.
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Common Law
Law derived from decisions in court cases and from general customs.
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Conventions
Established norms of political behaviour rooted in past experience rather than the law.
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Royal Prerogative
Discretionary powers of the crown that are exercised in the monarch's name by the PM or government ministers.
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Statute Law
Laws derived from Acts of Parliament and subordinate legislation.
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Parliamentary Sovereignty
Parliament has absolute legal authority, it has legislative supremacy, Parliament may make law on anything it chooses and they may not be overturned. Devolution and the EU raise questions as to how meaningful this is.
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Civil Liberties
Fundamental individual rights and freedoms that ought to be protected from interference by the state.
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Rule of Law
The rule of law is a core principle of a liberal democratic constitution and an essential feature of a free society. The law applies equally to all citizens - private citizens and members of the government.
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Sovereignty
Legal supremecy; absolute law making authority that is not subject to a higher authority.
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The Separation of Powers
Legislative, executive and judicial powers should each be exercised by different persons or institutions, in order to avoid an over-concentration of power in the hands of one person, group or institution.
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Uncodified Constitution
An uncodified constitution is based on a variety of sources rather than being found in a single document.
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Unitary Constitution
A unitary constitution is one where sovereignty resides in one central authority and the powers of government are in one location.
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Federal Constitution
In a federal constitution sovereignty is shared between central and regional institutions and the constitution guarantees the powers of both central and regional governments.
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Parliamentary Government
A political system in which government takes place through parliament and in which the executive and legislative branches are fused.
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Elective Dictatorship
The excessive concentration of power in the executive branch. The situation is where the government, supported by a disciplined, majority party in the House of Commons, is able to pass legislation and decisions and so dominate Parliament.
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Devolution
Devolution is the transfer of powers from central government to regional or subnational government.
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Quasi-federalism
A division of powers between central and regional government that has some features of federalism without possessing a formal federal structure.This occurs when the central government of a unitary state devolves powers to subnational governments.
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Card 2

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A constitution comprises rules that set out the distribution of power within a political system, establish the powers and functions of various institutions, regulates the relationship between the institutions and between the citizens and the state.

Back

Constitution

Card 3

Front

A single document that sets out the laws, rules and principles on how a state is run and the rights of the citizens.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Difficult to change.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Law derived from decisions in court cases and from general customs.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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