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Explain The Term " Constitutional Reform" In The Context Of The English Legal System

1050 words - 4 pages

Firstly I would like to explain how the British constitution works. A constitution is a set of laws on how a country is governed. This means that constitutional reform is the process by which the way in which a country is governed is changed The British Constitution is unwritten, unlike the constitution in America, and, as such, is referred to as an uncodified constitution. The British Constitution can be found in a variety of documents. Supporters of the British constitution believe that the current way allows for flexibility and change to occur without too many problems. Those who want a written constitution believe that it should be codified so that the public as a whole has access to it - as opposed to just constitutional experts who know where to look and how to interpret it. Amendments to Britain's unwritten constitution are made the same way - by a simply majority support in both Houses of Parliament to be followed by the Royal Assent (See Appendix 1 for details of the sources of the British Constitution). When the Labour government came to power in 1997 Tony Blair had promised his party would implement "the biggest programme of change to democracy ever proposed". This was undertaken immediately with the advent of devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In all Labour passed 11 out of 12 bills proposing constitutional reform of some form or another (see appendix 2). This now leads me to explain how the constitutional reforms implemented by the government are affecting the British legal system.Secondly I would identify two main areas of where I believe constitutional reform to be having the greatest impact on the British legal system. This will allow me to show "Constitutional Reform" in the context of the English legal system. These areas are the incorporation of the European convention on human rights into British law, the proposed abolition of the post of Lord Chancellor, and the proposed creation of a supreme court for the UK (Both of which I will discuss together as they are linked). The introduction of the European convention on Human Rights (ECHR) meant that people who believed their human rights to have been violated would be able to have their case judged in UK courts rather than having to incur the cost and delay of taking their case to Strasbourg.The main provisions of the Act were :·Courts are required as far as possible to interpret all legislation, whenever enacted, in a way which is compatible with Convention rights.·It would be unlawful for public authorities to act in a way which is incompatible with Convention rights.·When introducing legislation, Government Ministers will have to make a statement about the compatibility of the Bill with Convention rights.The problems which this brought about were that :·courts and tribunals needed training to deal confidently with Convention related points.·all public authorities, not just central and local government, needed to...

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