The U.K. Constitution appears to have served the country well enough, since it has been in existence for several years and appears to have maintained stability in the country. Does this mean however, that the separation of powers between the three arms of Government is functional?
The United Kingdom does not have a formal, written Constitution, merely one written page setting out the legal framework, which at the outset presents the problem of a clear demarcation of the powers of the various branches of Government. The Constitution is an informal, uncodified system, which is unitary in its establishment principles. The monarchy is an important of the British Government, however from the perspective of powers, its reach is limited. According to Bagehot, the monarch’s powers are restricted to “the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn.” (p 42). The Monarch also has the power to order a dissolution of Parliament or to invite the leader of the majority Party to form the Government, however this is also done on the advice of the executive, hence the monarchy is undoubtedly subordinate to the legislature.
The U.K. Government is technically divided into the three equal branches of Government – the Executive, the legislature represented as the House of Commons and the Judiciary, represented as the House of Lords. However, members of the executive must be members of the Legislature and must be drawn from it and are subordinate to it. Under the Parliamentary system of Government, the members of the executive must be drawn from the party that is in a majority in the Parliament and therefore, by default, the executive becomes subordinate to the legislature. The House of Lords is the highest court of appeal in the land, but the members of the House of Lords are also a part of the Legislature. A separation of powers on the other hand, requires a clear delineation of ...
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