Topic One: Constitution Chapter 5
Constitution is the fundamental law of a political system. It is fundamental
because all other laws must conform to the constitution in terms of how they are
made and in terms of their substance. A constitution is a necessary condition for
democratic politics. Without it there is no civilized way of resolving conflicts and no
way of predicting either the powers of government or the rights of citizens.
Common Law A set of rules that govern political life. These rules may take three
forms: written documents, the decisions of courts, or unwritten conventions
Constitutional conventions those practices that emerge over time and are
generally accepted as binding rules of the political system.
Constitutional law common law and constitution written documents. Are
enforceable by the courts, whereas constitutional conventions are not
Parliamentary Supremacy essentially meant, that so long as one level of
government did not trespass onto jurisdictional turf that the Constitution assigned
to the other level, it was free to do as it liked
Rule of Law principle that everyone should be treated equally under the law.
Charter extends this principle to expressly prohibit discrimination based on race,
national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age, or mental/physical ability
Privy Council The power that resides formally in the monarchy is in reality held
by the Crowns advisers. Formally includes all members of the present and past
cabinets. However, only present members of the cabinet use their powers
Responsible Government In order to govern, the prime minister and cabinent
require the confidence of the elected house of commons. If a government looses the
confidence of the house, it looses the right to govern
Party discipline The reason why the constitutional theory of responsible
government does not translate into governments tremulous before their
Ministerial Responsibility The accountability of the government to the
legislature is the reason behind another principle of British parliamentary
government. It entails the obligation of a cabinet minister to explain and defend
policies and actions carried out in his or her name.
Parliamentary supremacy this means that parliaments authority is superior to
that of all other institutions of government. In concrete terms, this means that the