The constitution key terms

  • Created by: Beatriz
  • Created on: 02-04-15 14:22
A set of rules which may be written or unwritten, that establish the distribution of power within a state, relationships between political institutions, limits of government power, rights of citizens and the method of amending the constitution itself
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A principle that government operates within a set of constitutional rules and not in arbitrary fashion.
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Codified constitution
Set down in a single source, entrenched and superior to other laws.
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Uncodified constitution
Has multiple sources, does not appear in a single document and is flexible.
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Unitary constitution
Where sovereignty or ultimate power lies in one central body.
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Federal constitution
Sovereignty is divided between the central authority and other regional bodies.
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Parliamentary sovereignty
When parliament is the highest power possible. There is nothing above it and it makes the ultimate decisions.
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Pooled sovereignty
A circumstance where legal sovereignty is exercised collectively by a number of sovereign states.
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A process of transferring power from the UK Parliament and government to regional governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This does not represent any transfer of sovereignty.
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An expression which suggests that the devolution process looks effectively like federalism, but is not federalism specifically because no sovereignty has been divided.
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Elective dictatorship
A description of how the executive branch in the British political system is dominant to such an extent that it has been described as a 'dictatorship'
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The process of setting out a constitution in an organised way in a single document.
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Judicial review
A process undertaken by senior courts where judges are required to interpret, re-interpret or clarify constitutional rules.
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Royal prerogative
The traditional powers enjoyed by the monarch that have been passed to the prime minister of the day.
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Parliamentary government
A political system where Parliament is the central feature.
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Constitutional reform
A process whereby the fundamental nature of the system of government is changed or change is proposed.
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Parliamentary reform
A process whereby reforms in the membership, powers or procedures of Parliament are made or proposed.
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Human rights
Basic rights that all citizens can expect to enjoy.
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Electoral reform
A process whereby the electoral system is changed or where there is a campaign for such a change.
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Power sharing
A method of forming a government in a divided society. All major parties are invited to share seats in government and develop widely agreed policies.
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A single-issue question in which a region/whole nation will vote either yes or no. It is a form of direct democracy.
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A principle that government operates within a set of constitutional rules and not in arbitrary fashion.

Card 3


Codified constitution


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Card 4


Uncodified constitution


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Card 5


Unitary constitution


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