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n Britain the origins of its unwritten constitution can be traced back to the Bill of Rights (1689) and the Act of Settlement (1701, both these pieces of legislation helped to transfer power from the king to Parliament in the aftermath of the Glorio

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The Constitution Constitution can be defined as the rules that govern the government. Government power is therefore subjected to limitations and checks, providing protection for the people, this is known as limited government. Constitutions are relatively recent developments, the first "written" constitutions were the US Constitution (1787) and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789). In both these cases constitutional government was seen as a solution to the rule of absolute monarchs. In Britain the origins of its "unwritten" constitution can be traced back to the Bill of Rights (1689) and the Act of Settlement (1701, both these pieces of legislation helped to transfer power from the king to Parliament in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution. Sources of constitutions o Statute law o Common law o Conventions o EU law/treaties Constitution principles 1. Parliamentary sovereignty 2. The rule of law a. Laws are made by legislature b. No one is above the law (law applies to everyone) ...read more.


o Civil Service Pension Case (having the right to amend does not give right to end o In both cases government taken to courts for failing to obey own laws 3. Parliamentary Government o Fusion of powers between government and Parliament o Power of government elected with a large majority ... might lead to o An "elective dictatorship 4. Constitutional Monarchy o Bagehot's distinction between the "dignified" and the "efficient parts of the constitution o Monarch only has the right: * To be informed * To be consulted * To warn * To encourage o But not the right to withhold R A * Queen Anne 1708 Scottish Militia Act * Origin of US President's veto 5. EU Member ship o Treaty of Rome 1956 o Single European Act 2986 o Treaty on European Union (Maastricht) 1992 Magna Carta 1215: o Balance of power between monarch and the people o "no free man shall be seized or imprisonment stripped of his rights, or possessions... ...read more.


Since 1787 there have been 27 amendments in USA. (In comparison to UK which can amend with a simple majority vote in HC and HL) The provisions are not entrenched: laws are changed as other laws The constitution is judiciable: all political activity is subject to a constitutional court (supreme court in USA) The constitution is not judiciable: judges do not have a legal standard to judge the constitutionality of laws and actions - only their legality Examples = UK, New Zealand and Israel Unitary and Federal Constitutions Unitary Federal Establishes the supremacy of the central government Shares sovereignty between levels and institutions of government Defines and preserves the sovereignty of the national legislature Allocating powers that cannot be encroached upon e.g. UK e.g. germany, US Rigid and Flexible Rigid Flexible Codified constitutions tend to be rigid Uncodified constitutions tend to be flexible See process necessary for amending the US constitution Parliament can change any law But judicial interpretation allows the courts to make changes in the law But the Royal prerogative has remained in place since the 18th century ...read more.

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