An Outline Of The English Political System

4650 words - 19 pages



Britain vs. other European countries

British aren't obliged to carry ID cards with them, not even driving licence. They have 24 hr to bring them to police station.

Democracy involves less participation of the people in governing and law making: Population aren't asked when important changes take place. 1965 Only National Referendum till now about Britain should stay in the EC.


Britain doesn't have a written constitution; instead the country is governed by principles built up over the centuries.

*Statute Laws: written law of a legislative body: Parliamentary Acts

*Common Laws: unwritten law of England, administered by the Queen's courts, deriving from ancient usage: made by judges

*Conventions: principles- agreement between parties- which aren't legally obliging but which have the power of the law. E.g. Magna Carta

*EC laws: having the status of conventions, some are more important than government laws.

The trouble is some of these laws are written down and some others aren't. E.g. There's no written law on who can be PM, his powers and limits. Quotation 1: Criticism from the labour party on the limitless power of PM.

There's no written document that asserts people's rights. Some rights commonly accepted by democratic systems have been formally recognised E.g. discrimination of sex, race...

 FOR: This way the political system is less rigid to adapt to new situations.

 AGAINST: Absence of written constitution is dangerous because there's no limit in the abuses of power on the part of the government and no guarantee of the population's right defence.

The demand for reform hasn't been achieved.


The Parliamentary system is made up of 3 branches; the Monarch is at the head of all.

a)Legislative: *House of Lords

*House of Commons

They possess supreme legislative power except for some EC laws.

b)Executive: Operates through *The Cabinet


c)Judiciary: Made up by judges of the higher courts.

They determine the common laws.

Britain is a CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY, country ruled by a monarch who accepts Parliament's decision. It is a result of 1688 Glorious Revolution which resulted in the expulsion of James II -Stuart-and changing of dynasty to Hannovers with William III of Orange. This marks the beginning of Modern Britain: absolutism is abolished and constitutional monarchy begins.


The position of the monarch in Britain is an example of the contradictory nature of the Constitution.

She has almost absolute power:

-official head of the State

-official head of the executive

-official head of the judiciary

-commander-in-chief of all armed forces

-temporal secular governor of the Church



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