The Constitution. Key questions you will need to know in this topic. What is a constitution? What are the functions of a constitution? What are the types of constitutions? What are the main sources and principles of the British Constitution?
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WHAT IS A CONSTITUTION?
A constitution is a set of rules that;
Why are constitutions so important important?
“We cannot trust the government or, for that matter, anyone who has power over us.” p161
A constitution is the solution to the problem of power. (Power tends to corrupt, so we need to be protected from those in power).
Without a constitution the government could simply do whatever it wants – oppressing minorities, violating freedom, tyrannising the mass of the people.
A form of government in which government power is subject to limitations and checks, providing protection for the individual; the opposite of arbitrary government.
1) Establish the distribution of power within a political system
2) Establish the relationships between political institutions and individuals
3) Define and establish the limits of government power
4) Specify the rights of individual citizens and how they are protected
5) Define the nature of citizenship and how individuals may obtain citizenship
6) Establish and describe the arrangements for amending the constitution
*Higher laws are those that concerned constitutional arrangements –who has power, the relationship between institutions, rights of citizens etc and these are safe guarded and entrenched
*Below these are Ordinary laws, which concerns relations between citizens, administration of the state, criminality etc.-these lower laws can normally be changed without special procedures and are not safeguarded.
Advantages of a Codified Constitution
Disadvantages of a Codified Constitution
Features of the UK Constitution = PUUFF
Fusion of powers