The creation of law

What are the three basic elements to a constitution?
The legislature (Parliament), The executive (the government) and the judiciary (judges)
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What are the key functions of the legislature (Parliament)?
The key function is to make laws. The Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland have the power to pass their own laws where the Westminster Parliament has devolved limited areas of policy.
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What are the two houses of Parliament?
Parliament consists of two houses of Parliament known as the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
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How many constituencies are there?
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What is the UK's voting system called?
First past the post
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What is the act that makes the laws for General Elections?
Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011
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How long must there be between each General Election?
5 years
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How many members are in the House of Lords?
Approx. 785 members (known as peers)
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Name two categories of members of the House of Lords.
Life peers, hereditary peers, peers appointed by the House of Lords Appointment Commission, senior bishops of the Church of England
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What is the role of the executive?
(The government) is to govern the country.
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What are the most senior ministers known as?
Secretaries of State
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What is the Cabinet?
About 22 of the most senior ministers who help the Prime Minister run the government.
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All government ministers must be members of the House of Commons? True/False
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What is the role of the Judiciary (also known as Judges)?
The role of judges in the UK constitution is to apply the law to decide the cases brought to them in their courts. They are independent from Parliament and Government
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What is the doctorine of judicial precedent?
This is when Judges in later cass refer back to the judgments and apply legal reasoning to the facts in their own cases.
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What is judicial review?
This is mean that judges have the power to review decisions of government ministers and other decision-makers to check that they have acted within their legal powers.
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What are Acts of Parliament also known as?
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What does the final version of a Bill become?
An Act
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Explain manifestos and political developments.
Political parties often include specific promises to change the law in thier election manifestos.
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Explain The Law Comission for England and Wales.
This is another source of ideas for new legislation. It is politically independent organisation established under the Law Comissions Act 1965.
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Explain green papers.
When the government has decided to pass legislation in a particular area, it may choose to publish the draft proposals in the form of green papers.
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Explain code of practise on consultation.
The government procduced this code which sets out some broad principles.
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Whate are some of the broad principles which individual departments are expected to follow?
(1) There is no set period for consultation- departments may set tight timescales if there has been significant discussion, (2) Once the consultation is complete, departments must explain the responses received and how theyve been used (3)
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What is a white paper?
When the consultation is complete, the government will publish a white paper. The document will set the final version of the government's proposals follwing the consultation.
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Explain a Public Bill
A public bill affects the whole country. When such a Bill becomes law, it is described as a Public General Act.
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Explain a Private Bill
Affects a much more limited geographical area, such a local authority area.
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Explain a Hybrid Bill
It shares the characteristics of both public and private bill. Although it applies generally across the country, it particularly affcets certain indivuals/ locations.
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What is a Government Bill?
A government bill is introduced by a government minster and will be announced in the Queen' speech at the beginning of the parliamentry year.
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What is a Private Member's bill?
This is when it is introduced by an MP who is not a government minister. Only a limited amount of MP's are given the oppurtunity to introduce this kind of bill. These are often unsuccesful and dont become Acts.
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What are Law reform Bills?
Law reform Bills may be politically uncontroversial, particulary is they are derived from proposals of the Law Commission.
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What are Consolidation Bills?
These simply reorganise existing laws in statutes and/or case law.
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What is Codification of law?
Codification involves assembling all the law on a topic into one Act of Parliament.
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Explain the first reading.
The Bill is formally presented. The members of the House are informed of its existence and that printed copies are available.
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Explain a second reading. (House of Commons)
The minister or MP in charge of the Bill explains its purpose and the principles involved. The House debate the Bills purpose. If the Bill is approved, its passes the committee stage
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Explain the Committe stage. (House of Commons)
Each clause of the Bill is examined in detail and may be deleted/amended by a committee.Normally about 16 MP's but can be upto 50) A different committee is appointed for each Bill.
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Explain the Report stage.
The Bill is formally reported back to the House and there is a further oppurtunity for discussion and amendments.
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Explain the Legislative Grand Committee (LGC)
If a speakers certifcate has been issued after the first ready or the report stage, the Bill will be considered by the Legislative Grand Committee. All MPs can be the debate but only English MPs can amend and delete. The committee must then consent.
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Explain the Reconsideration stage
If the LGC refuses to give its consent, the Bill will be reviewed again in this stage. The speaker may then issue a further Speaker's Certificate in relation to amendments. The Bill then goes back to the LGC to vote again.
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Explain Consequential consideration
If the LGC approves the Bill, any minor technical amendments will be made in the consequential consideration stage.
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Explain the Third reading
After the Consequential stage, the Bill is reviewed in its final form by the whole House and minor amendments only are debated and voted on.
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Explain the Second reading (House of Lords)
The minister or member of the House of Lords in charge of the Bill explains its purpose and the principles involved. The house will debate. It will then vote on the Bill. If the Bill approved, it passes to the Committee stage.
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Explain the Committee stage (House of Lords)
Each clause is examined in detail by a Committee of the Whole House.
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what is Consideration of amendments
Once the Bill has passed all stages it is returned to the first House to consider the amendments made by the second House. If the first House doesnt approve of the changes it is passed back to the second Hous and so on (called ping-pong).
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How Acts of Parliament are used in developing the law.
Major reforms to the general law of the land, Major reforms in particular areas of law, Reforms reflecting changing social attitudes, Codifying the common law (case law), Consolidating the law, Incremental changes (tweaking the Act)
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The Act which delegate the power to create secondary legislation is referred to as?
The Parent Act or Enabling Act.
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What are Stautory Instruments?
These are the most important type of delegated legislation.
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What are the types of Statutory Instruments?
Statutory instruments, regulations, rules, orders, orders in council, bye-laws.
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What are Regulations?
Regulations are desgined to fill in the gaps in the law which is set out in the parent Act, The drafting of regulations is delegated to the relevant minister.
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What are Rules?
Rules are usually used to set out the procedures which must be followed, particularly court processes. These Rules set out the procedures to be followed.
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What are Orders?
Orders have various specialised functions, inlcuding "bringing into force" sections of Acts which did not "commence" when they received Royal Assent.
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What are Orders in Council?
These orders are passed by the Monarch and a group of senior ministers known as the Privy Council. There is no involvement by Parliament in their creation.
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What are Bye-laws?
These are typically created by local authorities or other organisations which seek to regulate particular local activities.
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What are the controls on delegated legislation?
Publication, Laying before Parliament, Parliamentary Committees, Judicial review and European Convention on Human Rights.
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Explain Publication.
S2 Statutory Instruments Act 1946 provides the most of the Statutory Instruments. S3 (2), a person charged with a criminal offence under a statutory instrument which has not been published can use this fact as a defence,
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Explain Laying before Parliament.
Most Enabling Acts state that stat instruments created under their authority must be "laid before Parliament" formally made for Parliament to scrutinise. The enabling Act may state that the affirmative procedures should apply.
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Explain Parliamentar committees (The Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments )
It has a membership drawn from the House of Commons and Lords and will examine stat instruments laid before Parliament. Its focus is on drafting defects rather than contents.
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Explain Parliamentar committees (The Houe of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee)
It will consider the policy implications (merits) of stat instruments laid before Parliament. It will draw particular stat instruments to the special attention of Parliament.
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Explain Judicial Review
The enablng Act should contain clear and unambigous wording. Those who are unhappy with a particular piece of delegated legislation are able to got to the High Court and seek judicial review, on the ground that the body/minister acted ultra-vires
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What are the two types of ultra vires?
Substantive ultra vires and procedural ultra vires
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Explain Substantive ultra vires.
This arises if the content of delegated legislation is beyond the scope authorised by the enabling act.
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Explain Procedural ultra vires.
This occurs whe delegated legislation has been passed without going through all the procedures required by the enabling act.
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Explain why European Convention on Human Rights can be used to control delegated legislation
The courts will quash or disappy any secondary legislation whcih is incompatible wirh rhw ECHR. The secondary legislation will therefore simply not be valid law.
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Card 2


What are the key functions of the legislature (Parliament)?


The key function is to make laws. The Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland have the power to pass their own laws where the Westminster Parliament has devolved limited areas of policy.

Card 3


What are the two houses of Parliament?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


How many constituencies are there?


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Card 5


What is the UK's voting system called?


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