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Flashcards in (3) Governmental Institutions Deck (13)
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In the UK system which bodies exercise the powers associated with the three key branches of government?

Parliament - legislative
Government - executive
Judiciary - judicial


What is a criticism of the way the various powers are associated with different institutions?

Criticisms are levelled at the separation of powers theories for suggesting that various powers can neatly be allocated to one of these institutions – it is rarely this clear cut.


In the UK what is the role of the executive branch?

In the UK the executive branch – the government – administer the day-day business relating to the management of the state. Their role, as stated by Bagehot, is to ‘rule the nation’.


What actions may be included in the role of the executive?

- Executing or enforcing of the criminal and civil law (Policing, CPA etc)
- Maintenance of law and order
- Design of public policy for the running of the state
- Defence of the realm
- Conduct of international relations


Who comprises the executive in the UK?

The executive is comprised of the cabinet, headed up by the PM, and ministers responsible for the discharge of the functions of central government. Also part of the executive are officers of the state who exercise functions of behalf of the government – civil service, police, armed forces etc.


Who makes up the legislative branch in the UK?

In the UK it is Parliament that constitutes the legislative branch, it in turn is made up of the House of Commons, House of Lords and the Queen in Parliament. Practically, however, Parliament could be said to be bicameral – the House of Commons and Lords.


Who makes up the House of Commons in the UK?

It is made up of 650 directly elected MPs.


How does the House of Commons represent an infringement of the separation of powers?

It is from the House of Commons that the majority of the Cabinet are drawn. Immediately there is an overlap of personnel between the legislative and executive branches in the UK.


What did Bagehot say about the infringement of the separation of powers by the UK Constitution?

Bagehot remarked on the issue, however, that this ‘nearly complete fusion of the executive and legislative powers’ should be regarded as the ‘efficient secret’ of the constitution.


What is the significance of the fusion of the legislative and executive branches in the UK?

It is a hallmark of the UKs system of government, and while according to Bagehot it improves efficiency, it does create difficulty when making principled applications of the separation of powers doctrine.


Who makes up the House of Lords in the UK?

The House of Lords is not elected by popular vote and is made up of a number of different types of peer – most are appointed by the monarch following recommendations by the main political parties.


What is the structure of the judiciary in the UK?

Established in 2009, the highest court in the judicial branch of government is the supreme court. Beneath this lies the court of appeal and beneath this the high court. Some cases may progress from domestic court structures to the ECHR or (at least for now) the Court of Justice for the European Union.


What roles does the judicial branch perform within the constitution?

1. Interpret and apply the law as passed by parliament or developed through past judicial decisions (statute and common law)
2. Adjudicate over criminal proceedings as the independent arbiter
3. Adjudicate over civil proceedings – applying the relevant case law