Our Constitution Uk

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A Constitution is a collection of rules that ensures a country is running efficiently. It guarantees that the government are governing correctly and that the rights of individual citizens are being protected. Constitutions can be found in different forms. They can be written or unwritten, rigid or flexible, federal or unitary in structure. Our UK constitution is unwritten however it possesses strong core constitutional principles, such as parliamentary supremacy, a responsible government, the rule of law and the separation of powers. It also has many key characteristics that shape it. As mentioned in Hilaire Barnett's statement, the UK constitution is largely unwritten. Unlike the USA we do not have a document that states the system in which our country is run. Our constitution is like a jigsaw, as we have a number of sources that shape and form it. One of the main sources is legislation, which can be found in the forms of Acts of Parliament (AOP are the highest form of law) or delegated legislation. These are all written, hence when Hilaire Barnett mentioned how our constitution is largely unwritten, she is accurate. Legislation has been created that possess particular constitutional significance. An example of this would be the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. This was one of the main pieces of legislation regarding our constitution. It bought about a greater separation of power which in turn had a huge effect on our constitution. One of the key characteristic of our constitution is our flexibility, with a written constitution it is very difficult for laws to be passed. In the UK all our Acts of Parliament can be amended or repealed if need be. Another example of our flexibility are conventions. These are non-legal sources of law otherwise known as rules. Sir Ivor Jennings Wrote (The Law and the Constitution, 5th edition, 1959) 'they (conventions) make the legal constitution work they keep it in touch with the growth of ideas. ‘ Conventions are seen as good as they are fast however some people tend to disagree with them, as they may not have gone through the correct legislative process and may lack scrutiny. The case of Attorney-General v Jonathan Cape 1976 is an example where the court questioned and considered the enforcement of conventions. This case was regarding whether the government had power to stop the publication of the diary of a former cabinet minister named Richard Crossman. The conclusion was that the conventions are recognised however are not legally enforceable. Another key characteristic of our constitution is that we are unitary in structure. This means that parliament is the responsible government and is central and supreme to our law making. Parliamentary supremacy ensures that parliament are the executive law makers. Parliament have delegated bodies to write legislation however they are all bound by Acts of Parliament. The UK constitution has a separation of powers. There are three main powers, the first being the legislators. These are the people who create our general rules. in the UK they are known as parliament. The second power is the Executive, who govern according to the laws. This is Her Majesty’s government. The third and last power is the judiciary who ensure the law is being adhered to and interpret cases based on legislation parliament have created. The last characteristic I will be discussing is the monarchy. Although the Queen does not often contradict what parliament do, she does ultimately have the power to stop any Act of Parliament. The royal family does play a big part as it is one of the main sources of our constitution. Another source of the UK constitution is the judiciary. In the past cases would be ruled by the application of common law. Nowadays the focus has changed to interpreting legislation. The judiciary also have the power of judicial review where they can challenge an executive action. Therefore the courts have been able to develop the UK constitution, by the...
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