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Chapter

Cover Public Law

6. The UK Parliament  

This chapter focuses on three principal issues concerning the UK Parliament. First, it addresses the democratic credentials of Parliament. Second, it considers Parliament’s legislative role. Third, it examines Parliament’s powers. The chapter shows that, at least in constitutional theory, Parliament is ‘sovereign’, meaning that its authority to legislate is legally unlimited, and considers why this is, whether it is acceptable, and whether the notion of parliamentary sovereignty remains accurate today.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

R v Chaytor and others [2010] UKSC 52, Supreme Court  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in R v Chaytor and others [2010] UKSC 52, Supreme Court. This case considered the extent of parliamentary privilege, and the courts’ role in interpreting it. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

R v Chaytor and others [2010] UKSC 52, Supreme Court  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in R v Chaytor and others [2010] UKSC 52, Supreme Court. This case considered the extent of parliamentary privilege, and the courts’ role in interpreting it. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Constitutional and Administrative Law

5. Parliament  

This chapter is concerned with the two chambers of Parliament, which, together with the Queen, collectively form Parliament: these are the House of Commons (HC) and the House of Lords (HL). The composition of both Houses is considered in this chapter, and attention is given to the officers of the House of Commons, the life of Parliament, House of Commons sittings, and the committee system. The electoral franchise is discussed and attention is focused on the important issues of electoral reform and the reform of the House of Lords. The chapter concludes by considering what is meant by the term ‘parliamentary privilege’.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

British Railways Board v Pickin [1974] AC 765, House of Lords  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in British Railways Board v Pickin [1974] AC 765, House of Lords. The case concerned the unwillingness of the courts to look behind the process by which statutes were enacted by Parliament. The case note explores the wider implications of this position in the context of debate between orthodox and alternative conceptions of parliamentary sovereignty, and the notion of constitutional statutes. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Public Law

British Railways Board v Pickin [1974] AC 765, House of Lords  

Essential Cases: Public Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in British Railways Board v Pickin [1974] AC 765, House of Lords. The case concerned the unwillingness of the courts to look behind the process by which statutes were enacted by Parliament. The case note explores the wider implications of this position in the context of debate between orthodox and alternative conceptions of parliamentary sovereignty, and the notion of constitutional statutes. The document also includes supporting commentary and questions from author Thomas Webb.

Chapter

Cover Cases and Materials on Constitutional and Administrative Law

4. Judicial Independence  

This chapter examines the notion of judicial independence. It discusses the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and its provisions reforming the office of the Lord Chancellor, establishing a new Supreme Court, and restructuring judicial appointments. Judicial diversity and discipline, along with further change to the judicial appointments process, are also considered. The chapter also considers the accountability of the judiciary to Parliament and the public, and the relationship between judicial independence and parliamentary privilege.

Chapter

Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Public Law

5. Parliament  

The Q&A series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions. Each chapter includes typical questions, diagram problem and essay answer plans, suggested answers, notes of caution, tips on obtaining extra marks, the key debates on each topic, and suggestions on further reading. This chapter presents information relating to Parliament. It looks at all aspects of how both the House of Commons and House of Lords work and how they might be reformed. The questions the chapter looks at deal with issues such as the reform of procedures and operation of the House of Commons; how newly elected MPs can influence government policy; the role of departmental select committees; parliamentary privilege; and House of Lords reform.

Chapter

Cover Public Law Directions

10. The Legislature: membership, privileges, and standards  

This chapter explores the role and membership of Parliament’s two chambers, the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the operation of parliamentary privilege; and accountability of members. The key functions of Parliament include controlling national expenditure and taxation; sustaining the government; legislating and scrutinising government actions. The House of Commons is the pre-eminent chamber and dominates Parliament. The Commons’ membership consists of Members of Parliament (MPs) who are democratically elected by the public to represent their interests in Parliament. The membership of the House of Lords largely relies on patronage. Members of the Lords are appointed by the Queen on the Prime Minister’s advice. The House of Lords is an important revising and scrutinising chamber, and while it is subordinate to the democratically elected House of Commons, it is also a check on constitutional change by the Commons. The Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 redefined the Lords’ legislative powers over public bills and established the Commons’ primacy. The chapter then considers the operation of parliamentary privilege. Parliament needs parliamentary privilege to conduct its core business effectively, independently, and without fear of outside interference, and to protect everything said or done in the transaction of parliamentary business. Indeed, Parliament is self-regulating and, as a sovereign body, operates outside the jurisdiction of the courts except for the criminal law. Each House has its own standards of conduct and disciplinary powers which ensure accountability.