Act of Parliament 1 LO: To understand the composition of Parliament and its roles.
Parliament makes the most important laws in this country.
They are called Acts of Parliaments (or statutes)
There are thousands of statutes: It would take an average adult 400 years to read all of the applicable law in England! (Times, 2006)
Times Online, December 11, 2006
However not all of these Acts of Parliament are drafted properly/cover every eventuality and that is when Judges interpret the law through Judicial Precedent.
Sometimes there isn't even Acts of Parliament for judges to use so they create Common Law through Judicial Precedent.
Can you remember who makes up Parliament?
Define the following terms: Monarch, Parliament, Government, Cabinet, MP’s, Chambers, You can use the textbook to help you.
Parliament 1. Queen 2. House of Commons Prime Minister Legislative body (makes law) and regulates the Government Signs proposed new laws that has been approved by parliament Made up of MP’s inc. Government Made up of senior judges who help make law and hear cases of extreme public importance 3. House of Lords
Help PM run the country
Made up of around 100 Ministers
Made up of around 20 Senior Ministers
Each Minister responsible for particular issue
MP’s - 646
The Wakeham Commission
The HL used to be made up of hereditary peers, life peers, Law Lords, Senior Bishops in the C of E.
Years ago HL was a body of influential noblemen and bishops brought together to advise the Monarch (Hereditary Peers) and they passed their position down to their children.
In 1999 Labour decided that this wasn’t in-keeping with a modern democratic society & that members should be elected so the Wakeham Commission was set up to reform the membership to the HL.
Parliament passed the House of Lords Act 1999 and removed all of the 751 hereditary peers bar 92 (659)
Life Peers are people who receive a patronage in the HL based on what they have achieved e.g. Margaret Thatcher has one and title exists for their lifetime and is appointed by the Queen following an assessment of their suitability by the House of Lords Appointment Commission.
Questions…Using the Textbook and the Briefing Paper
Who sits in the House of Lords?
What are life peers and how would someone get this patronage?
What are hereditary peers and how would someone get this appointment?
What is the Wakeham Commission and what did it do?
What Act removed the majority of Hereditary Peers?
How many hereditary peers currently sit in the House of Lords?
What is the change that took place in the HL following the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, what is the effect of this change, and why was it introduced (You will need to use your knowledge on past lessons to answer this)?
Functions of Parliament
Examining and challenging the work of the government (scrutiny)
Debating and passing all laws (legislation)
Enabling the government to raise taxes
Functions of Parliament – Examining the work of the Government
Parliament examines and challenges the work of the government. Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords use similar methods of scrutiny, although the procedures vary. The principal methods are questioning government ministers, debating and the investigative work of Select committees. The government can publicly respond to explain and justify policies and decisions. Select Committees are largely concerned with examining the work of government departments. Committees in the House of Lords concentrate on four main areas: Europe, science, economics, and the UK constitution.
Scrutiny of Government Cont./
The Commons scrutinises Government policies and the way it carries out its duties. The famous philosopher John Stuart Mill said of the role of the Commons:
“ Instead of the function of governing, for which it is radically unfit, the proper office of a representative assembly is to watch and control the government Dissertations and Discussions .
To further control, the behaviour of the executive Parliament has also created a Ministerial Code of Conduct:
MPs and peers hold the government to account by direct questions, either written - with a written answer - or oral, on the floor of the House. Each week the Prime Minister answers questions at “Question Time”, which often gets media coverage
BBC NEWS | Programmes | Question Time | Highlights
Functions of Parliament – Debating and Passing New Laws
debates are an important way of probing the executive, there are several types of debate but most important ones concern proposed legislation.
Parliament is responsible for approving new laws (legislation). The government introduces most plans for new laws, or changes to existing laws - but they can originate from an MP, Lord or even a member of the public or private group. Before they can become law, both the House of Commons and House of Lords must debate and vote on the proposals.
Debating and Passing New Laws Cont./
Parliament can make any law (next lesson) that it feels is necessary. The Gender Recognition Act 2004 allows transsexual people over 18 to have an acquired gender recognised and the legal right to live in their acquired gender.
Once their acquired gender is recognised, transsexual people have the right to marry in their acquired gender and be given birth certificates that recognise the acquired gender. They may also obtain benefits and State Pension just like anyone else of that gender.
What is your view on this?
Functions of Parliament – Raising Taxes
Parliament will discuss and debate the need to raise/lower taxes dependent on the needs of the country.
Explain the role of Parliament.
Use www.parliament.uk to research the proposed reform to the House of Commons and explain:
What are the changes that are proposed?
Do you think these changes sound like a good idea.
Research any terms from today’s lesson or from your homework that you don’t understand.