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The United Kingdom’s constitution

The United Kingdom’s constitution has a couple of characteristics; however, there are the major characteristics that affect the country’s legal system to a larger extent. The United Kingdom constitution has had proposed amendments over the last few years, an issue that has been taken with a lot of technicality and complexity. Details that have been taken into account while assessing the draft constitution treaty include; Parliaments and sessions: – The UK parliament opens upon being summoned by the sovereign and closes when dissolved by the same. The prime minister is delegated the power to dissolve the parliament.

This actually gives him advantage to dissolve at a time that is politically conducive for him. However, the UK constitutional practice allows government to be dissolved after 5 years unless otherwise. This is crucial unless in special cases like during World War II when the MPs in power by then were allowed 10 years more in power. The parliament is divided into sessions, with the first one beginning immediately the general elections are done, and the next one after prorogation. A session takes roughly one year though the first session tends to be longer than normal.

During the first session’s opening, a speech from the throne is delivered; Black rod is locked out of the common’s door to symbolise independence of common’s debate, leaving the lord’s chamber to conduct the opening. His speech is written by Ministers who determine the year’s agenda. House of Commons: – It is composed of the members of parliament who are over 650. Candidates victory is based on the plurality of votes, Voters can be as diversified as any member of common wealth countries aged 18 and above and a resident of UK; or even any British citizen who has lived overseas for over 20 years.

However, people accused of electoral malpractice insane persons, prisoners and members of the House of Lords are not allowed to vote. Qualifications of candidates are similar to those of voters. Speaker ship and procedure: – The house is headed by a speaker; deputy speakers include first and second deputy chairman. A speaker is elected at the beginning of parliament and serves until dissolution. In case he chooses to resign before his term is over, he provides his successor. The speaker’s powers are limited in the house, he does not have the authority to maintain power or he cannot participate in debates.

Acts of parliament: – Legislations that are passed by the parliament are in form of acts of parliaments. For a bill to be upgraded to an act it needs first to complete all stages. For instance, it has to be read three times. Initially the whole bill was read in the house for all to hear, however, this has changed and only title of the bill is read. A bill may be classified as private or government bill. Government bills are introduced by private members. They affect the governments’ policy while personal bills include individual rights. Public bills on the other hand include specific companies.

Public bills: – During the first reading, the bill is not debated on. After two weeks the bill is re-read and if the characteristics of the bill are supported it goes through to hold the final reading. If it doesn’t go through the bill fails. The bill will then be sent to the House of Commons. Here, it is considered clause by clause and if the motion is passed then bill passes. The bill is then taken to the sovereign, if assent is given then it becomes a law. Private, Personal And Hybrid Bills It begins with an individual petition government to pass it.

After the normal stages of the public bill, then it’s sent to committees; either, opposed bill committee or unopposed bill committee. Later, the bill is passed to two more houses and if the differences that might have risen are solved then it’s submitted for royal assent. Commons Supremacy According to Acts of 1911 and 1949, ‘if the lords fail to pass a bill, passed by the commons in two consecutive sessions, then the bill may be presented for royal assent unless the House of Commons otherwise directs”. A special procedure is applied to money bills, any bill that affects the national taxation or spending of public’s funds.

Such bills restrict even the House of Lords form tabling any them thus, that affecting the government departments. Despite these restrictions, the house can still introduce “privilege amendment” to a government initiated bill. The amendments would read, “Nothing in this act shall impose any change on the people or on public funds, or vary the amount or incidence of or otherwise alter any such charge in any manner, or effect the assessment, levying administration or application of any money raised by any such charge” . Privilege: – All parliament houses have bodies of rights, referred as parliamentary privilege.

While inside the house members have every freedom of speech. Hence talks held inside the house cannot be subjected to questioning anywhere. This makes any house a judge, because it can decide the qualification of members. The royal prerogative: The Britons have tried exercising their rights and freedom over the years. In the process, they gave royal prerogative to sovereign. This was claimed at protecting the Britons’ from their parliament. In a situation where the regulation breached coronation, the sovereign has the power to refuse giving royal assent. By 20th Century the government had began exercising some of the rights.

The operation of state power was limited to a small extent relative to the freedom it had. While reporting some of the amendments made, George included: protection of life, property and freedom. This was the chief reason why the government was involved. . Dissolving of the parliament following the passing of Triennial act. This emphasised on elections after three years and derived the queen’s power to dissolve parliament. The queen however, has the right to rule and warn ministers at any particular time; though her powers are out into practice through daily running of the government.

Some of the powers include enacting legislation, signing treaties, awarding honours and declaring war. The queen has two powers that can easily affect the running of the government. She has the right to refuse permission to the government to dissolve the parliament in case she views that it can be legitimately formed. Though this is legally right it, can easily cause controversy in the way government operates. . She also has a right to choose the prime minister, a formula that can be dangerous after an incomplete general election.

For example, “what happened in 1974 February when labour failed to win an overall majority” (Chris Alden 2002) (foot note 3). Power to declare war: Apart of the royal prerogative powers was adopted in 1688 by prime minister in order to attack Germany in 1939. Gordon Brown’s plan to give up the power delegated to him as a Prime minister without parliamentary approval was a debatable issue in UK. However, its impact will be felt in many ways like commons will be given new powers. In case of emergency for instance, MPs recalling parliament will be allowed. Mr.

Brown was reported to have thought of putting into consideration a bill of rights, which is currently handled by the human rights so as to give a deeper meaning on what it means being a British Citizen. Upon Mr. Brown surrendering the power to appoint the church leaders he plans on asking the commissions responsible to give him one title which he plans to forward to the queen. This is different considering presently he has two names. This will automatically have impact on both religious leaders and political leaders since Mr. Brown plans on delegating this power to the common a task that will be handled for the first time by the group.

Operation of state power in particular to the royal prerogative. There are limiting factors however, by the parliament. For instance, in case statute empowers crown to act, action based on prerogative is inapplicable, however a right is reserved in case the statute was willing to preserve the prerogative. Government would not rely on prerogative to replace an act of parliament, unless in a crucial national emergency


A Bradley judicial independence under attack. Public law 397. (2003 Bradley and K. Ewing, ‘Constitutional and Administrative Law Be George Jones brown plans surrender of key powers(2007) Be George Jones Brown gives up the power to declare war. 2007 Longman,(2002) Chris Alden Britain’s Monarchy. ‘What explains what it means to be a constitutional Monarch’? Guardian Unlimited. (2002). Canor, I. primus inter pares. ‘Who is the ultimate guardian of fundamental rights in Europe’? (2000) Jones, G. ‘Brown plans ‘surrender’ of key PM Powers. (2007) James Mc Dermott England and the Spanish Armada the necessary Quarrel. Yale University Press, Great Britain. (2005). John. F. McEldowney, ‘Public Law 3rd edition, London’ Sweet and Maxwell, (2002)

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