display | more...
It is not true to say, as people often do, that Great Britain does not have a constitution. Rather, it is not a codified constitution: There is no one place or text where the basic relationships of state and citizen are all set out neatly together.

The practical political implications of this system are in fact quite substantial: The Six Sources of the British Constitution are as follows:

  1. Statute Law Straight forward Acts of Parliament, E.g. Criminal Justice Act, 1994
  2. Common Law One power that British Judges do have is that to make 'Common Law' in unprecedented situations. Other Judges faced with similar circumstances should follow the previous decision.
  3. Royal Prerogative These are powers officially held by the Monarch, but in practice they are delegated to the Prime Minister. Examples are the power to confiscate land in emergencies and the power to give up or take away territory. This source is probably the most undemocratic and outdated.
  4. Convention Well okay, perhaps I was a bit hasty in awarding the coveted 'Antiquated Award' to RP. One convention that is followed is that General Elections are always held on Thursdays.
  5. Works of Authority These are old, large books written by 'Constitutional Theorists' and are used sometimes to establish procedure. An example is A.V. Dicey's An Introduction to the Study of the Constitution written in 1885.
  6. Legislation of the European Union The most recent addition to the list, and to many - I hesitate to say conservatives - I hesitate to say traditionalists - oh sod it, and to many Miserable Tory Bastards the most controversial. This includes EU treaties that Britain has signed and Directives. In one sense these laws are superior to Britain's own Acts of Parliament, but on the other hand, would not the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972 end their significance?
It is interesting to consider which of the above list is most Undemocratic. And which one would Britains scrap, given the choice? My Euros are on numero six. Up the Tory Bastards: Crusaders for The People's Democratic Will!