1.1.1 The British Constitution Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in 1.1.1 The British Constitution Deck (9):
1

Describe the uncodified nature of the British Constitution.

An uncodified constitution is:

- Not authoritative
It has the Same status as ordinary laws. Single-tier legal systems with no form of higher law.
In context: UK Constitution has multiple sources (written & unwritten), and constitutional practices can be altered.

- Not entrenched
Constitutional practices can be altered by a simple act of parliament (passing of a statute under parliamentary sovereignty)
In context: 'Fast-track legislation' in UK constitution, e.g. Criminal Justice (Terrorism & Conspiracy) Bill 1998.

- Non judicable

- Increasingly rare
Only 3 liberal democracy's (UK, Israel and New Zealand) adopt Uncodified constitution.

2

Definition of a 'constitution'.

A body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organisation is acknowledged to be governed. - Oxford Dictionary of English

Set of laws established in the governance of a country.

Sets out the rules and principles that govern the ruling body.

3

What does a constitution set out?

- An outline of the responsibilities of different governmental divisions.

- Power relations between various institutions.

- The powers of the governing body, its limitations ('Limited Government')

- The rights, freedoms & responsibilities of citizens being governed.

4

Functions of a constitution

- Grant legitimacy to governing body

- Protect freedom

- Illustrates the nation's goal & values

- Set out spheres of influence of tiers of government (esp. in Federal States)

- Create/ represent a fresh start for the country after reform

- Encourage governmental stability

5

Describe the unitary nature of the British Constitution.

A constitution that concentrates sovereign power in a single body of national government. UK, France and Israel for example, are unitary states.

- Constitutional supremacy of central government over local/ regional bodies, bu conferring sovereignty in national legislature.

- Can create, abolish, strengthen & weaken other institutions.

- Unrivalled & unchallengeable legislative authority, where local/ regional entity does not enjoy a share of sovereignty.

6

Describe the flexible nature of the British Constitution.

No laws are regarded as fundamental, no formal process for constitutional amendment (a relatively easier lawmaking process). In context, an uncodified constitution (e.g. British Constitution) is seen as more flexible.

7

Define "uncodified constitution'.

Uncodified constitution refers to a constitution that is made up of rules that are found in a variety of sources, in the absence of a single legal document or written constitution.

8

State 5 natures of the British Constitution.

- Uncodified
A constitution that is made up of rules that are found in a variety of sources, in the absence of a single legal document or written constitution.

- Unitary
A constitution that that concentrates sovereign power in a single body of national government.

- Flexible
No laws are regarded as fundamental, no formal process for constitutional amendment (relatively easier law making process)

- Monarchical
Hereditary right (The Queen as hereditary Head of State)

- Parliamentary

9

State the sources of the British Constitution.

Statute Law
Common Law
Conventions
Works of Constitutional Authority
European Law and Treaties