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Parliamentary Law Making

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Presentation on theme: "Parliamentary Law Making"— Presentation transcript:

1 Parliamentary Law Making
The constituent parts of Parliament

2 Objectives Define the term the separation of powers
Explain the requirement for a separation of powers Analyse how a separation of powers works in practice

3 Separation of Powers Imagine the following scenario and debate what might be the problems that it highlights: The country is run by a single powerful ruler (not dislike the system used by the Nazis in 1933 – 45). That ruler has the power to create a set of laws that ban anyone from saying bad things about their rule. They have complete control and say over the law and whether or not it is introduced. One of their functions as ruler is to appoint the police and the judges as well as administer all functions about the prison system. Try and find all the problems with a system such as this.

4 Black Adder

5 Separation of Powers Definition:
In the absence of a written constitutional document, rights and freedoms of individuals in the UK are supposedly guaranteed by the separation of powers. This states that the three major legal bodies of the state are kept distinct and separate allowing each to control and regulate each other.

6 Separation of Powers The separation of power is an integral part of American Politics but is less clear in British Politics. The American model, is guaranteed in their Constitution The British constitution is uncodifed and therefore roles have merged between parts of government. Government functions through three bodies: The Legislature which makes laws The Executive which puts laws into effect and plans policy The Judiciary, which decides on cases that, arise out of the laws.

7 Executive The Prime Minister and the cabinet form the head of the elected Government. They collectively decide policy issues and govern. They have the power to introduce laws by Green or White Papers.

8 The Legislature Parliament is the supreme law maker. Statutes are produced when both Houses of Parliament agree on the validity and appropriateness of a new statute. This is done by simple majority vote and is supposed to represent the people who voted for them.

9 Separation of Powers - Problems
In America all three branches are systematically split between the Executive (the president), the legislative (Congress) and the Judiciary (the Supreme Court). The president cannot serve in Congress when president and serving Congressmen cannot be a Supreme Court judge. In theory, no branch becomes more powerful than the other two so that a balance occurs. The American Constitution clearly states what the executive, the legislative and the judiciary can do.

10 Separation of Powers - Problems
In Britain this is not so clear. The legislative aspect is Parliament where laws are passed; the executive (which plans prospective laws and formulates policy) is the cabinet of the government and the judiciary is the Law Lords and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council who have a final say on legal issues (the European Court excluded). However, whereas the American model has separation as part of the American Constitution, this is less clear in Britain.

11 Separation of Powers - Problems
The Prime Minister is an active member of the legislative (and can vote in Parliament, though a recent criticism of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown is that their voting record is one of the poorest of MP’s in the Commons) yet he is also the leading member of the executive. Also the Lord Chancellor is a member of the cabinet and therefore of the executive as well as being head of the judiciary. The House of Lords also has a right to vote on bills so they are part of the legislative but the Lords also contains the Law Lords who are an important part of the judiciary. As with the PM, the members of the Cabinet are also members of the legislative who have the right, as a Member of Parliament, to vote on issues.

12 Separation of Powers - Problems
Therefore, there is a merging of roles in the British model. Some have argued that this is needed for flexibility in a modern society. Supporters of the American model claim that a written constitution gives a government the rights it has so that it cannot trespass onto power held by other parts of the political system or have its powers trespassed on by others. The Executive (President’s office), the Legislative (Congress) and the Supreme Court (Judiciary) have very clear powers stated in the American Constitution that restricts each section’s powers and avoids crossover between the three sectors of politics.

13 Plenary What does ‘MP’ stand for? How are MP’s chosen?
What do they do? Who is the current Prime Minister? Which political party is currently in government? What is the cabinet? What two ‘Houses’ sit in Parliament? What is a law passed by Parliament called?

14 Objectives Define the term the separation of powers
Explain the requirement for a separation of powers Analyse how a separation of powers works in practice

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