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Outline the Sources of the Uk Constitution Essay

One of the main and most significant sources of our constitution include Statute Law, this is law made by Parliament also known as Primary legislation. However only the laws that affect the powers and responsibilities of governing bodies or the rights of citizens are of constitutional significance. For example the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, this took away one of the prime ministerial powers as it introduced fixed term elections for the first time in Westminster parliament.

Another source of our constitution is Common Law, which is also known as judge made law. Common Law refers to a body of laws based on tradition, and it is developed though a case by case basis, This occurs through the use of precedent, where judgement of earlier cases are taken to be binding on later cases. An example of Common Law is the 1984 Trade union Act. This reduced the powers of Trade Unions, this was made during Mrs Thatchers reign as Prime Minister.

Furthermore Conventions is another source of the constitution. A convention is a non-legal rule; a rule of conduct or behavior, it is an accepted way in which thinks are done. Conventions are unwritten, and often lacks a clear definition. For example Collective ministerial responsibly means that a departmental minister will resign if she/he loses the confidence of the House of commons, although this is not set in stone it is the way things are done and this has resulted in the smooth operation of the government making politics ‘workable’.

Works of constitutional authority is another source of the constitution. They are book written by constitutional theorists that are considered to be authoritative guides to the UK constitution. This helps define what is constitutionally correct. However although they are written they are not legally enforceable. They are needed to fill the gaps of confusion in the UKs uncodified constitution, particularly in conventions. In addition they also give people insight on what the constitution actually means. An example of this is The English Constitution by Walter Bagehot. This book tells us about the role of the Prime minister.

An lastly when the UK joined the European Community in 1973 European laws and treaties also became a source of the constitution. Gradually the UC/EU law became apparently of higher status than UK Statute law. Examples of EU laws include Single European Act 1986. This was a treaty that established a single market within EC, which insured free movement of goods, services and capital.


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