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Where does ultimate power lie in the UK constitution?

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  • Essay length: 2417 words
  • Submitted: 20/06/2006
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University Degree English Legal System

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Public Law

Where does ultimate power lie in the UK constitution?

Most European nations have written constitutions; a single document which can be referred to in isolation. Unusually for a major western democracy, the UK has no such document. The rules on who makes the law, how the relationship between the principle organs of state is regulated and their functions, are contained in a variety of sources i.e. Statutes,1 the common law,2 and conventions. An unwritten constitution.

Conventions, which are simply established traditions that tend to be followed, play a significant part, that have become 'the way to behave' and failure to observe them will normally result in political disapproval to the extent that most see them as binding. But they are not law and as such cannot be enforced.

There are many coercive examples of conventions that affect our system of government, where a failure to observe could result in the person concerned having to resign, for example the conventions establishing ministerial responsibility and the Government must resign if it loses a vote of confidence.

Some basic principles underpin the nature of the constitution. Among them, the doctrine of the separation of powers. The

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