Flashcards in Webcasts Deck (50)
What are the different organs of the state?
What is the judiciary?
The courts and the judges.
What is the executive?
The government and different government departments.
What is the legislative?
Parliament, the law makers.
What is the definition of a constitution?
K Wheare said it was the whole system of government of a country, the collection of rules which establish and regulate or govern the government.
What are the doctrines that we have in the UK and what are they?
They set out how the system should operate, how the constitutional rules work, they include parliamentary supremacy, the rule of law and the separation of powers.
What is the correct way to describe the UKs constitution?
It is u codified as it is not all written down in one document.
Who are we referring to when we say the executive?
- justices of the Supreme Court
Is the rule of law a doctrine or a source of the UK constitution?
A doctrine. A doctrine is a principle which helps to illustrate how something functions.
What are one of the sources of the UK constitution?
Statutes/Acts of Parliament.
In the absence of a written constitution, what should you have?
Doctrines, which set out how the system operates (parliamentary supremacy, rule of law no the separation of powers) and sources where the rules are contained.
What are the three main sources for the UK constitution?
What importance does the manga carta have?
It was the first time the power of the Monarch had been checked in some way. It set out the rules pertaining how the Monarch exercises power in certain circumstances over individuals.
In order for a piece of legislation to become law what process must it go through?
Both the House of Lords and the House of Commons must agree to it before it is given royal assent.
Why is the parliament act 1911 important?
It says that a piece of legislation can be pushed through by the House of Commons alone, without the agreement of the House of Lords in certain circumstances.
Are all statutes constitutional?
No, it would only be if it affected one of the organs of the state or governed the relationship between those organs and the individual.
In countries that do have a written constitution their constitutional statutes have special status, why is this and what is it called?
It's called 'entrenched'. It is often very difficult or impossible to repeal or amend the law unlike UK statutes which can be repealed.
Why can the UK constitution not have entrenchment?
Because of the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy which means that any statute can be passed and repealed in the same way as any other statutes. It is flexible.
Which one of the following is a characteristic of legislation as a source of the UK constitution?
- constitutional acts are a higher source of law than normal acts
- they are the best source
Flexible. It refers to the fact that legislation can be used to amend the UK constitution very easily. There is no special procedure that has to be followed to create a new act that has constitutional significance - they just need to be passed in the same way as any other acts.
How can we divide case law up?
Cases which concern themselves with common law rules and statutory interpretation.
Give a case example of common law decisions that contain constitutional rules?
Entick v Carrington - the King thought Entick had some material which was seditious (rebellious/disloyal) against the king and he ordered a search of his house. The courts had to look at whether this was legal. Carrington said it was as he was following the king's orders. The court disagreed and asked where the paper was that allowed them to do this. There wasn't one and therefore it was unlawful. You need to be able to point to an act that allows a person to do it.
What is important about the Burmah Oil company case?
The army destroyed oil fields believing it would be captured by the enemy and that they would gain an advantage, the oil company then sought compensation for the damage. UK government said no compensation was allowed as it was battle damage through the use of the royal prerogative. The courts disagreed and the government had to pay compensation. Following this case the government introduced the war damages act which now would reverse that decision.
Give a case example f statutory interpretation and how they contain constitutional rules?
Waddington v Miah - a person entered the UK on a false passport in 1972. New legislation dated 1971 made it illegal for this to happen however it did not come into effect until 1973. The courts said legislation did not have retrospective effect, any activities that happened before the act came into force were not caught by the act.
When will an act have retrospective effect?
If the act expressly says it does.
Are the case law decisions entrenched into the law?
The doctrine stare decisis means that decisions of the higher courts must be followed by the lower courts so there is some protection of the constitutional principles. However, a higher court can reverse or amend their earlier decisions allowing some flexibility. Parliament can also override these decisions with new legislation (Burmah Oil).
Why was the decision in Entick v Carrington of constitutional significance?
It decided that lawful authority was needed in order for the state to interfere with a citizens rights.
Give an example of a constitutional convention?
Royal assent. It means the monarch MUST give royal assent to any bills that go through both Houses of Parliament. It cannot refuse to do so.
What is ministerial responsibility?
A constitutional convention. It means that if a minister has done something in their personal or professional lives which brings them or the government into disrepute they must resign.
What do all constitutional conventions have in common?
The word MUST. If those circumstances arise somebody MUST do something.