Britain has a very stable democracy, institutions have been around for centuries. Russia on
the other hand changes institutions very frequently, (especially in the last 20 years)
-Historically in Britain, there are acts that are so important that they take on
constitutional characteristics, such as the document refining the relationship between the
Monarchy and Parliament, Magna Carta (13th century, still around!), etc.
-Custom: 5 years serving terms for representatives, but it is not written down
anywhere! It is just adhered to because it is deemed important.
-Important interpretations of the law: Similar to precedent in Canada, important
rulings are followed time after time.
-What keeps British democracy going without a written constitution? Common law.
Common law is a series of evolving judicial precedents that is interpreted by judges.
Example: In Row v. Wade, in the U.S abortion was made legal because ruling against
it went against the American constitution regarding privacy even though it was not thought
applicable at the time. This is the same in most commonwealth countries and Great
Institutions are the product of evolution, such is Great Britain.
-Constitution is a written document, lays down the basic rules of the game and has been
followed for 200 years. There have been amendments over the years but it is very difficult to
change the constitution.
-Enumerated rights: Right to free speech, right to bear arms, due process etc.
-Rules of the game are clearly articulated in the Constitution.
Completely a product of human design, written by a group of guys in Philadelphia
rather than through hundreds of years of evolution like in Britain.
Design of Government
US- president and cabinet, (cabinet does not have to be an elected representative).
GB- prime minister and cabinet, (elected representatives).