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Importance Of The Separation Of Powers In Government

1224 words - 5 pages

The principle of the separation of powers is the ‘division of state and federal government into three independent branches’ . This divides the governmental power between the three divisions of the constitution, ensuring the state power is equal and is not violated by an individual branch. In concurrence with the principle of constitutionalism, separation of powers also ‘limits the power of the state’ . The separation of powers also specifies that the legislative, executive and judicial functions of the government should all be separate. ‘In a nation which has political liberty as the direct object of its constitution no one person or body of persons ought to be allowed to control the legislative, executive and judicial powers, or any two of them’ . This again is to ensure that state power is not violated by two branches combining and overriding the power the government has.
The enactment of general laws is controlled by the legislative branch however their work does not just involve legislature. The execution and implementation of the law is controlled by the executive branch, they carry out the functions, powers and duties involved with general legislature. This branch has been described as ‘functions of the state that occur once legislative and judicial functions have been outlined’ . The settling of disputes arising from the law is controlled by the judicial branch. This branch puts the law into action and involves statues and common law. It involves interpreting and applying law to a specific previous case. As Lord Templeman stated in M V Home ‘Parliament makes the law, the executive carry the law into effect and the judiciary enforce the law’ . The relationship described between the branches is one of ‘checks and balances’.
In the UK specifically; the queen within parliament is the legislative branch, the executive branch initiates policies, it includes the sovereign, the government (prime minister/ cabinet) and local authorities and the judges are the judicial branch. The UK does follow a modified version of checks and balances however it has been argued that the UK constitution has no separation of powers because of parliamentary sovereignty and the UK’s uncodified constitution. Each branch is not completely independent as there is an overlap between executive and legislative branches. For example pre-2005 the Lord Chancellor had legislative, executive and judiciary powers. The Constitutional reform act did separate the powers however there are still several members of the government who carry both executive and legislative powers. ‘The efficient secret of the English constitution may be described as the close union, the nearly complete fusion of the executive and legislative powers’ . It is because of this that it is argued that the UK has a ‘fusion of powers’ rather that a separation of powers. AV Dicey stated that the UK has a weak separation of powers, and this is supported by the overlap within the government. The government is...

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