Federalism is a political philosophy or a system of government where leadership of a state is divided between a central head and its sub-units. States with a federal form of government are split into different territories, each territories are then governed by the sub-units. Each unit can act independently of other units such that each territory may different laws governing them.
The central government, on the other hand, act for the common good which grants substantial autonomy to each territory. As a result, territories are subject to their laws and those imposed by the central government. The United States of America is an example of a country with a federal form of government from which each state has its own state legislature but must at the same time follow the laws made by the United States Congress.
Parliament. A parliament is a legislature operating under a parliamentary system of government. In more simple terms, the parliament is the body of people who represents the general population and who meet and discuss matters of state. Members of parliaments may be elected or not, although representatives are rarely non-elected.
Members of parliaments also have the power to elect the head of state, usually called the Prime Minister. As such, the head of state is answerable to and would only hold office as long as the parliament is confident on the head’s leadership. The latter part is possible because the parliament also hold the power to dismiss or to request an early dissolution. Parliaments may also be divided between chambers or houses. The British Parliament, for example, is divided between the House of Lords and the House of Commons, although only members of the House of Commons is referred to as the parliament.
Constitution. A constitution is a fundamental system of laws, written or unwritten, which establishes the rules and principles of a sovereign state. Constitutions set up the basis for governments, defining the limits and relations of each political structures of the state. States which have democratic forms of government, for example, have executive, legislative and judiciary authorities which have separate powers and duties but are interdependent of each other.
Most constitution also cover the claim of territories and guarantee certain rights to people. While constitutions may be in unwritten form, having it in written or codified form makes it more easily understood and coherent. However, written constitutions are still usually relatively rigid than with other laws, allowing for a potentially wide range of interpretations.
High Court. A high court refers to the superior court of justice, the court of last resort, or the highest judicial body within a specific autonomous state. In the United States, for example, high court refers to the Supreme Court. Being the highest judicial body, rulings of high court could no longer be subjected to further review by another court. High court decisions usually impact other cases in that most states have a doctrine called stare decisis for rulings covering common law from which previous rulings and decisions constitute binding precedence upon the same court or courts of lower status within their jurisdictions.
That means that judges are obliged to follow the precedents established in prior high court decisions in subsequent cases. Others have, on the other hand, the principle of jurisprudence constante from which previous decisions applying a particular law carries great weight and may be determinative in subsequent cases.
Responsible Government. A responsible government is a concept in a system of government embodying the principles of accountability. In the United Kingdom, for example, responsible government manifests itself in several ways. The Prime Minister account to the Parliament for decisions and departmental performances.
They retain office for as long as the lower house of holds confidence in his or her leadership. However, once the lower house has passed a motion of no confidence, the Prime Minister must immediately resign and the government is subjected to the electorate for a general election. In Canada, responsible government encompass ministerial responsibility. Collective ministerial responsibility involves principles which ensure that the prime minister and all cabinet ministers pursue a policy consistent with the priorities of their party which has the support of the majority of voters.
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