Critically evaluate the laws and conventions that regulate and control the relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

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Critically evaluate the laws and conventions that regulate and control the relationship between the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

In United Kingdom (UK), it consists of a bicameral legislative system, consisting of the House of Commons (HOC) and the House of Lords (HOL). This is to ensure that the legislative system also represents aspects of society and also ensures that the power to legislate is shared between two bodies, rather than being concentrated on one body. The two chambers should not have the same character as the “UK’s bicameral legislative system should be composed of two complementary rather than rival chambers.” Having a bicameral system would also ‘mutually keep each other from exceeding their proper limits’ as per William Blackstone.

The HOC is made up of the ruling government as majority members while HOL is more politically balanced as it is not organised based on political part affiliations. HOL consists of; the hereditary peers, who have the most controversial memberships and only 92 members out of an initial 759 members remained after the House of Lords Act 1999; life peers, where it is a high honour conferred to be one in the UK. They are usually more participatory in terms of attendance and debates than hereditary peers.

Judicial peers are judges who were granted peerage after they retired or comprise the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords and/or the Privy Council. Judicial peers exist so that there will be legal expertise in the HOL but however this changed after the enactment of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. After the enactment of the 2005 Act, the judges may be granted peerage following retirement

Lastly there are Spirital lords who are the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England. They owe no allegiance to any political party, presence is based on the traditionally close links between the Church of England and the state but they do make a significant contribution to debate on many, often sensitive, moral and social issues such as housing, divorce, abortion. Their largest turnout was seen in the voting of the Civil Partnership Bill 2004.

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This composition within the two chambers allows for diffusion rather than a concentration of powers within Parliament. Thus the HOL can be seen as undertaking a complementary role to the HOC and also doubling as a check and balance constitutional role.

Restrictions on the exercise of powers by HOL

Parliament Act 1911/1949

Until 1911, HOL enjoyed equal powers with the HOC and that the relationship between the two Houses was governed by convention. In 1909 the HOL rejected the Finance Bill containing Lloyd George’s budget, which, was a breach of convention. In light of the HOL’s rejection, the King ...

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