Lecture 3 parliament the legislative process


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Lecture 3 parliament the legislative process

  1. 1. Parliament and the legislative process Foundation Law Lecture 3
  2. 2. Lecture 2-RECAP  Common Law System v Civil Law System  Key difference: CODIFICATION  United Kingdom: Common Law System  Three sources of law…………………….  Statutory Law (Acts of Parliament/ “Statutes”)  Common Law (“ Judge made law”/Doctrine of Judicial Precedent)  Equity (legal principles and rules which, promote fairness & justice)
  3. 3. Who is this? Keir Stamar QC-DPP Alison Saunders-Chief Crown Prosecutor for London Replaces Keir Stamar as DPP in Nov.2013
  4. 4. What is the role of the CPS & the DPP?  CPS- government body which represents the state in criminal matters  The CPS prosecutes (“brings the action against the defendant”) the defendant in criminal cases investigated by the police  The CPS is responsible for:  Advising the police;  Investigating criminal matters; and  Bringing the prosecution case against the defendant (which includes preparing the case for hearing and representing the state at hearing)  The DPP overlooks the CPS and is responsible for prosecutions, legal issues and criminal justice policy  DPP’s recent report on reasons not to prosecute doctors in abortion case: http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/latest_news/dpp_abortion_case_fuller_reasons/
  5. 5. Parliament and the legislative process Learning Outcomes: Outline the basic structure of the English constitution Understand the role and composition of parliament Show knowledge and understanding of the law making process Identify the different types of “Bills” and explain how & who introduces them in parliament Explain what is an Act of Parliament/Statute; and Explain the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy and power of repeal
  6. 6. What is the role of parliament and how is it composed? There are 3 main bodies in the UK which collectively make up the English constitution: 1. The Legislature 2. The Judiciary 3. The Executive “Separation of Powers”
  7. 7. The Separation of Powers Term used to describe the function and powers of each of the institutions Parliament: law making body Judiciary: consists of the courts and judges-law enforcement/statutory interpretation Executive: the cabinet, the PM, government departments and the civil service
  8. 8. Parliament  Parliament consists of the House of Commons and the House of Lords
  9. 9. House of Commons
  10. 10. House of Commons  Members of the House of Commons are referred to as a Member of Parliament (MP)  Elected by the public during a general election  The country is divided into constituencies (geographical areas) and each constituent (resident/voter), votes for one MP during the general election to represent their constituency in Parliament
  11. 11. House of Commons  A MP represents a particular political party  In the UK the major political parties are:  Labour  The Conservatives  The Liberal Democrats  There are also many smaller parties too.......
  12. 12. House of Commons  The party’s manifesto: sets out the key political and economical aims + proposals for reforms  The government of the day is formed by the political party which has a majority in the House of Commons-half the seats in the House  In the United Kingdom, general elections (to elect the government) are held every 5 years  However, By-Elections can be held to replace MPs in a constituency, in the event of their death or retirement  The voting age in the United Kingdom is 18 years
  13. 13. The 2010 General Elections  “Hung Parliament”-no one party had an overall majority/half the seats in the House of Commons  A “coalition government” was therefore, formed between the Conservative and Liberal Democratic parties, who collectively had the requisite majority seats What problems may arise in a coalition government?
  14. 14. The Government  This is the political party which has the majority in the House of Commons  It is the government which has the main say in formulating new Acts of Parliament  Parliament is the body which is responsible for law making as a whole and consists of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords
  15. 15. The House of Lords  The House of Lords is the non-elected body  Before 1999: 1,100 members (750 were hereditary- the rest consisted of life peers, judges and bishops)  Post 1999-only nominated members and some elected members (92 hereditary peers, life peers and the most senior bishops in the Church of England.)
  16. 16. The House of Lords  Until 2009 the 12 most senior judges sat in the House of Lords as the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords  Hence some of the leading cases where heard in the “House of Lords” (HL)  However, in October 2009 the Supreme Court was formed which replaced the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, separating the judges from parliament  The Supreme Court is the highest court of the land, which creates precedent which binds all lower courts
  17. 17. The law making procedure 1) The consultation papers:  Outline the proposed changes  “Green Paper”-this is a consultative document on a topic in which the govt.`s view is put forward with proposals for law reform  “White Paper”- sets out firm proposals for new law
  18. 18. 2) Draft Acts of Parliament (“Bills”)  A draft Act of Parliament is known as a “Bill” and there are different types of Bills, which have been outlined in the table below: Type of Bill Explanation Example Government Bill Introduced by the Government Legal Services Act 2007 Private Member’s Bill Introduced by a private MP Household Waste Recycling Act 2003 Public Bill Involves matters of public policy and affects the general public Legal Services Act 2007 Private Affects a particular person, organisation or place Whitehaven Harbour Act 2007 Hybrid Introduced by the Government but affects a person, organisation or place Crossrails Act 2008
  19. 19. 3) The parliamentary process  The Bill will be introduced in the House of Commons and will go through the following stages..........
  20. 20. The Five Stages 1) First reading: this is a formal procedure where the name and main aims of the Bill are read out-simple verbal vote on whether the House wishes to consider the Bill. 2) Second reading: this is the main debate on the whole Bill in which MPs debate the principles behind the Bill 3) Committee stage: a detailed examination of each of the clause of the Bill is undertaken by a committee of between 16-50 MPs- this committee is known as a “Standing Committee” 4) Report stage: this is where the committee report back to the House on the amendments it has suggested to the Bill during the committee stage 5) Third reading: this is the final vote on the Bill
  21. 21. The law making procedure in the House of Lords  The Bill is than passed to the House of Lords where it goes through the same 5 stage procedure  If the House of Lords makes amendments to the Bill, it will go back to the House of Commons for consideration
  22. 22. The law making procedure-Rejection by the House of Lords  Parliament Acts 1911 & 1949: a Bill can still become law even if it has been rejected by the House of Lords, provided that it is reintroduced into the House of Commons in the next session of Parliament and passes all the stages again there
  23. 23. The Royal Assent  The Bill officially becomes an Act of Parliament once it receives the Royal Assent (“agreement” or “approval”)  A mere signature of the monarch (King/Queen)  The monarch however, has no say with respect to the contents of the Bill itself
  24. 24. Parliamentary Supremacy  Parliament is the legislative body  A.V.Dicey (1885): “Parliament...has...the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and further, that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament”  Parliament makes the law and the courts must apply the law
  25. 25. Limitations to Parliamentary Supremacy  EU Law: takes priority over English law  The Human Rights Act (1998): all Acts of Parliament have to be compatible with the ECHR
  26. 26. Limitations to Parliamentary Supremacy  Scotland Act 1998 & Wales Act 1998: Parliament has “devolved” certain powers to the Scottish and Welsh Assemblies
  27. 27. Power to Repeal  Parliament can “repeal” an Act of Parliament  Repeal- amend/withdraw an Act of Parliament  Parliament is not bound by a law made by a previous Parliament and thus can repeal any previous Act of Parliament  Therefore, theoretically parliament can repeal the European Communities Act 1972, which it passed to become a member of the EU and withdraw its membership
  28. 28. Seminar 3 Preps  Hand-Out  Reading:  Jacqueline Martin, “GCSE Law”, 5th edition, Chapter 13  Preparatory Questions