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British Government Institutions And Politics Essay

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A constitution is a set of laws on how a country is governed. British constitution is referred to as an uncodified constitution in the sense that there is no one single document which can be classed as and sets out the constitution. Why don't we have a written constitution?

Essentially because Great Britain has been too stable for too long, this country remained free of the revolutionary fervour and has not been invaded or occupied for almost 1,000 years. Therefore, the most important fact in understanding the nature of the British political system is the fundamental continuity of that system. Its democracy has been reformed incrementally over centuries rather than in one big bang.

The governing elites of many European nations such as France and Germany, by contrast, have been forced to draw up constitutions in response to popular revolt or war. Then again for younger countries, including the United States and Australia, codification of their citizens' rights and political systems was an essential step towards independence.

Throughout history there has been a tension in political powers shift from theoretically all-powerful monarch to a national parliament that was increasingly representative of ordinary people. There have been many milestones along this long and troubled road to full democracy.

1. Statutes
These are laws passed by Parliament such as Magna Carta (1215) and the Act of Settlement (1701). Generally speaking, statutes are the highest form of law in the land. If a statute and the royal prerogative, common law, or convention conflict, the latter must give way to the statute. 2. Conventions

These are unwritten practices and understandings which must be taken into account in order to understand how government works. Sometimes, conventions are simply the recognition of changed circumstances; many are derived from the historical events through which the British system of government has evolved. For instance, in law, the Queen is the source of all power; but in practice it is ministers –the Cabinet –who exercise executive power. Other times, conventions are means of ensuring smooth and efficient government. 3. Common Law

Law which is developed incrementally by the courts and judges through cases. Common Law includes the Charter of Liberties, which makes the Monarch subject to the law, the 1102 Synod of Westminster, which abolished slavery in England, the 1627 Petition of Right, which granted the rig...

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