The British Constitution

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  • Created by: Izzy
  • Created on: 27-04-15 14:20
Constitution
System or body pf fundamental principles according to which a state is governed.
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Federal
eg. USA. Countries that divide power between a central (federal) government and a number of state or provincial governments as determined by a written constitution.
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Common law
Body of rules that has derived from judicial judgement over long periods of time.
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Speaker of the House of Commons
eg. John Bercow. Non partisan officer of the House of Commons, who presides over its debates, decides who may speak and maintains order in the house.
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Judicial review
Power of the courts to overturn executive or legislative actions they hold to be illegal or unconstitutional
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Acting ultra vires
Acting 'beyond its powers'
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Human Rights Act 1998
The statute which incorporated most of the rights on the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.
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Conventions
Unwritten rules which govern political conduct. Traditionally regarded as binding, but have no legal force.
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EU regulations
Type of EU law which is binding on all member states without the need for national legislation
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Directives
Type of EU law which is binding on all member states as to the result to be achieved, but can be implemented as best suits the needs of individual countries.
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The Factortame Case
A landmark constitutional case (involving a fishing dispute) in the UK, which confirmed the primacy of EU law over UK law.
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Nationalism
The desire of a nation to be recognised as a state, eg. The SNP want Scotland to br governed by the Scots.
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Quangos
Publicly funded bodies that operate at arms length from a government department and carry out executive and advisory functions. There members are not elected so are not accountable to voters.
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Charter 88
Campaigning pressure group set up to urge the case for constitutional and electoral reform. eg. written constitution, reformed democratic second chamber
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Judiciary
Branch of the government responsible for interpreting and applying the laws in particular cases.
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The Supreme Court
Body created to act as the final court of appeal in all matters under English, Welsh and Northern Irish law from 2009. Takes over judicial functions of the House of Lords.
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Party discipline
System of maintaining order within the parliamentary parties. MPs are expected to 'toe the party line' by voting in favour of their parties' proposals in the HoC.
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Hung parliament
Parliament in which no single party has sufficient support to form an administration by itself, creating a situation in which a coalition or minority has to be formed.
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Elective dictatorship
Term coined by Lord Halisham to describe the constitutional imbalance in which the executive power has increased and parliamentry power diminished. With a strong majority in the House with by strong party discipline, legislation can be forced through
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Question Time
Daily opportunity for back-benchers to ask ministers questions, which they are obliged to answer.
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PMQ
Questions to the Prime Minister that take place every Wednesday 12-12.30
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Criminal law
Body of law that deals with crimes, which are offences to the state. The aim of these proceeding is to punish those who have broken the law.
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Civil law
Body of law dealing with disputed between individuals or groups in society, in which the aim is to win compensation.
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The Bar
Comprises of lawyers who are qualifies as barristers. Know collectively as 'members of the bar'
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Judicial activism
The idea that the courts should be active partners in shaping policy. Supporters see the courts as having a role in looking after groups denied political influence or clout. Opponents see them as excessively liberal, pro criminal and soft on crime.
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Kilmuir Guidelines
Principles set out by the then Lord Chancellor that restricted the freedom of judges to speak out on matters of public policy
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Sequestration
The removal of the financial assets from their owner until thy comply with a court order.
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Judicial restraint
The idea that courts should not seek to impose their views on other branches of the government. Supporters favour a passive role for the courts which limits the implementing legislative and executive intentions.
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Politicisation of the judiciary
The growing trend for judges to become involved in political issues
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

eg. USA. Countries that divide power between a central (federal) government and a number of state or provincial governments as determined by a written constitution.

Back

Federal

Card 3

Front

Body of rules that has derived from judicial judgement over long periods of time.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

eg. John Bercow. Non partisan officer of the House of Commons, who presides over its debates, decides who may speak and maintains order in the house.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Power of the courts to overturn executive or legislative actions they hold to be illegal or unconstitutional

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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