The UK constitution is an uncodified constitution, meaning that it is not contained in a single document or charter. Instead, it is made up of various sources of law, including statutes, common law, conventions, and authoritative sources. Some of the key features of the UK constitution are:
- Parliamentary Sovereignty: This principle holds that the UK Parliament is the supreme law-making body and that no other institution or authority can override its decisions.
- Rule of Law: This principle means that everyone, including the government, is subject to the law, and that the law should be applied consistently and fairly.
- Separation of Powers: The UK constitution divides power among three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judiciary, with each branch having distinct roles and responsibilities.
- Monarchy: The UK constitution recognises the role of the monarchy as a symbolic and ceremonial head of state, with limited constitutional powers.
- Constitutional Conventions: These are unwritten rules and practices that have developed over time and govern the behaviour of the government, the monarchy, and other constitutional bodies.
- Human Rights: The UK is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides protections for fundamental human rights and freedoms.
- Devolution: The UK constitution allows for the devolution of powers to regional assemblies and parliaments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
- Electoral System: The UK has a first-past-the-post electoral system, which means that the candidate who receives the most votes in a constituency is elected to parliament.
- Common Law: The UK relies on a common law legal system, which means that judicial decisions and precedents are used to interpret and apply the law.
- Flexibility: The UK constitution is flexible and adaptable, allowing for changes to be made through the democratic process, such as the passage of legislation or the adoption of new constitutional conventions.
You can learn more about this topic with our Public Law notes.