Definitions for the British Constitution

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Constitution
Is the system or body of fundamental principles according to which a nation state or body politic is constituted and governed
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Federal
Countries such as the US divide power between a central government and a number of state or provincial government, according to a written constitution.
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Executive
is the branch of government responsible for directing the nation affairs and the initiation and executive of laws and policies (government)
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Legislature
is the branch of government responsible for discussing and passing laws and acting as a watchdog over government (parliament)
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Separation of powers
Is the doctrine that political power should be divided between the executive, legislature and judiciary , in order to prevent an undue concentration of power.
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Codified
Where all the rules concerning the government are written in one single government
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Uncodified
Where there is no single document in which all the information about the constitution is written.
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Unitary
Where all the power is center at one place examples include britain and israel they tend to be smaller countries with no major difference in the population
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Flexible
Where the constitution can be easily amended by passing an act of parliament, (it is as easy as changing statue law)
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Entrenched
Constitution which are difficult to alter ( need 2/3 majority in both houses in the USA)
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The Rule of Law
Idea that no one is above the law and everyone is subject to it equally, and that one cannot be punished except for breaking the law (AV dicey explained this)
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The sovereignty of parliament
parliament has unlimited authority
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Common law
Is a bod of rules that has evolved over a long period of time. Non-statutory law reflects precedent deriving from centuries of judgement by working judges.
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The bill of rights
is a statute that has become a basic document of english constitutional law. It largely a considered that citizens that citizens living under a constitutional monarchy ought to posses.
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The speaker of the house of commons
is the non-partisan officer at the house of commons who presides over its debates, determines which members may speak and it responsible for maintaining order during debates.
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Judicial Review
is the power of the courts to overturn executive or legislative actions they hold to be illegal or unconstitutional. The Uk has a weak form, the courts can review executive actions, deciding whether the executive has acted beyond its powers,or unfair
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The Human right act 1998
Is the statute which incorporated most of the rights contained in the European commission on human rights in UK law.
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Conventions
are unwritten rules which govern political conduct, they are traditionally regarded as binding, but have no legal force.
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Treaty of Roman
1957 was between six european countries which established the European Economic Community which is known the EU.
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Regulations
are a type of european law which is binding on all member states of EU without the need for any national legislation.
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Directives
are a type of European law which is binding on all EU member countries as to the result to be achieved but can be altered to suit the needs of the country.
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The Factortame case
A landmark case which confirmed the primary of EU law over UK law
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Nationalism
Is the desire of a nation to be recognized as a state(Scottish nationalists wish Scotland to be ruled by the Scots)
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Quangos
Publicial funded bodies that operate at arm length from government . Stands for Quasi Autonomous Non-governmental Organisations as they are not elected they are not accountable.
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Charter 88
Is a campaign set up after the revolution to push for reform.
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The Judicary
Branch of government responsible for interpreting and applying laws in particular cases.
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The Freedom of information act
2005 allows the public to view info held about them
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The Supreme Court
Is the body created by the 2005 constitutional reform act as the highest court of appeal, it is held at middlesex guild hall and is where the law lords sit.
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Party Discipline
is the system of maintaining order within the parliamentary parties. MP's should vote with there party in the House.
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Hung Parliament
Also known as a coalition, where no single party has enough support to form a majority govenment.
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Elective Dictatorship
Where executive has to much power coined by LOrd Hilsham
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Question TIme
An opportunity for back benches in parliament to ask question of government ministers and they must answer.
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Criminal Law
Is the body of law dealing with crimes, which are offences against the state the idea of the proceeding is to punish those who have broken the law.
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Civil Law
relates to a body of law dealing with disputes between individual or groups in society in which the aim of the proceeding is to win compensation
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Lord Chancellor
was abolished under the constitutional reform act
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Judicial Independance
The idea that there is no fusion between the judiciary and the other branches of parliament which was enshrined in law through the 2005 constitutional reform act
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The Bar
Lawyers which are qualified as barristers they are known as members of the bar
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Judicial Activism
Is the idea that the courts should be active partners in shaping public policy .
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Kilmuir Guidelines
are principles set out by the then Lord Chancellor that restricted the freedom of judges to speak out on matter of public policy. Created in 1955 and since relaxed to allow judges to give interviews.
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Sequestration
is the removal of the finical assets from their owner until they comply with a court order
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Judicial Restraint
Is the idea that the courts should not seek to impose their views on other branches of government.
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Politicisation of the Judiciary
Is the growing trend for judges to become involved in the political system
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Card 2

Front

Countries such as the US divide power between a central government and a number of state or provincial government, according to a written constitution.

Back

Federal

Card 3

Front

is the branch of government responsible for directing the nation affairs and the initiation and executive of laws and policies (government)

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

is the branch of government responsible for discussing and passing laws and acting as a watchdog over government (parliament)

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Is the doctrine that political power should be divided between the executive, legislature and judiciary , in order to prevent an undue concentration of power.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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