Sources of the British Constitution

What are the written sources?
Legislation, Case Law
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What are the unwritten sources?
Prerogative power, Conventions, underlying principles
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What are constitutional statutes?
They tend to hold more weight than other statutes, if two contradict, the later one applies, or it can be changed by Parliament
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Why does it matter that some statutes are constitutional?
They are harder to change, may require referendum
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What are devolution statutes?
Perhaps some of the first acts considered to be constitutional statutes. They establish and regulate the government and are more difficult to change than regular statutes
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What does the HRA of 1998 allow and require?
UK Judges to enforce the ECHR against the government, rather than requiring complainants to rely on the ECHR.
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How long was the ECHR an entitlement for and what issues did this cause?
It was created in 1959, however it meant British people had to go into Europe to fight for their rights until the HRA of 1998
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The HRA doesn't list rights, what does it do?
It is a mechanism for the rights contained in the ECHR.
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What does case law set out?
rules and principles
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Historically, is the British constitution more historical or legal?
Historical- not all constitutional law can be addressed in court due to this. Therefore, we can only challenge the constitution politically
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In terminology, what does 'The Crown' mean?
It used to refer to the monarch, but now tends to refer to the government
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What are prerogative powers?
a right or privilege held by the government as a right, not given by parliament
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What are personal prerogatives?
powers held specifically by the Queen
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How do prerogative powers relate to parliament?
Parliament have the final say. Prerogative powers are often seen as the powers the government just has to have. Over time, parliament has encroached over P. powers, but gov. still have some which come with little limitations
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What did Miller say on the withdrawal from the EU?
It is a fundamental constitutional change, therefore government wanted it to be under prerogative power, however such change must be authorised by parliament.
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What are constitutional conventions?
They are defined by those who they bind. Rules of constitutional behaviour: applicable use in constitution and government. They are not enforced by the courts
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Why are constitutional conventions obeyed? (negatives)
They are obeyed because political difficulties would arise if they weren't, such as resignation or dismissals, and public criticisms
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positives?
Conventions ensure that the legal framework of the constitution is operated in accordance with the prevailing constitutional values of the time Such as democracy, constitutional monarchy, accountability and responsibility.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

What are the unwritten sources?

Back

Prerogative power, Conventions, underlying principles

Card 3

Front

What are constitutional statutes?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Why does it matter that some statutes are constitutional?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What are devolution statutes?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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