The Constituion

Brief overview of the unit.

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3 Roles of the Constitution
1.Establish distribution of power in a political system 2.Establish limits of government power 3.Define the nature of citizenship and how its attainable
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3 Features of a codified constitution
1. Written is a single document 2. Constitutional laws are superior to other laws (dualism) 3. It is entrenched/cannot be changed without special arrangments
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3 Features of un-codified constitution
1. Not written in a single document 2. Constitutional laws are not superior to others 3. Can develop over time and are flexible
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What is the nature of sovereignty?
Ultimate source of political power
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What is the difference between Federal and Unitary constitutions?
Unitary = sovereignty in one place Federal = sovereignty divided between centre and regional bodies
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3 Sources of the UK Constitution
1. Common Law (enforceable unwritten law) 2. Tradition (persisting customs not legally enforceable) 3. Conventions (rules not enforceable yet binding)
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3 Main features of UK constitution
1,. Not codified (flexible and not entrenched) 2. Parliamentary sovereignty 3. Constitutional laws are not superior to others
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Where is sovereignty in the British system?
1. Parliament is legally sovereign 2. People sovereign at elections 3. Devolved administrations have power unlikely to return to Parliament
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3 ways sovereignty has changed since 1997?
1. Great deal of power transferred to devolved administrations 2. Increase use of referendums 3. Pre Brexit large transfer of power to the EU
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3 impacts of EU membership on the Constitution?
1. EU Laws superior 2. UK courts must enforce EU laws 3. Parliamentary sovereignty surrendered to EU in certain areas
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3 reasons why constitution should be codified (reformed)
1. Citizens know limits and locations of political institutions 2. Prevent over powerful government 3. Would stop the abuse of citizens by state
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3 reasons why constitution should not be codified (reformed)
1. Flexibility is good 2. May make government ineffective due to limits on power 3. Makes governments more accountable
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3 reforms under labour 1997
1. Devolution (power transferred to devolved assemblies) 2. Elected mayors in greater London 3. Human Rights Act became part of British law
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3 reasons why labour reformed the constitution
1. Modernisation (New Labour were a modernisation party) 2. Electoral advantage (help win votes in Scotland and Wales)
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3 Proposed coalition reforms
1. Electoral reform on implementing Alternate Vote (result = no) 2. Fixed term parliaments (the gap between elections is fixed result = yes) 3. House of Lords reform (create a fully/ partly elected second chamber)
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3 Key changes in the constitution
1. Government become decentralised 2. Rights better protected through H.R.A 3. House of Lords become more effective at checking government power
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3 Failures of reform
1. Can be argued that U.K is weakened by devolution 2. Electoral reform has failed 3. H.R.A and judicial independence have created conflicted between senior judges and government
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3 Strengths of UK Constitution
1. Flexible 2. Provides for strong, decisive government not limited by const rules 3. Doctrine of parliament sovereignty makes government accountable
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3 Weaknesses of UK Constitution
1. Too flexible so can be amended to personal gain by short term governments 2. Allows too much government power as inadequate constitutional safeguards in place 3.Too old fashioned, does not conform to a modern constitution
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

3 Features of a codified constitution

Back

1. Written is a single document 2. Constitutional laws are superior to other laws (dualism) 3. It is entrenched/cannot be changed without special arrangments

Card 3

Front

3 Features of un-codified constitution

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What is the nature of sovereignty?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What is the difference between Federal and Unitary constitutions?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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