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The Scottish Parliament and law making
The Scottish Parliament and law making

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4.2 Thinking about the UK’s constitution

In this section you explore further the UK's constitutional arrangements and identify the key features of that constitution.

Activity 3 Defining the UK’s constitution

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Take a few moments to reflect on what you have learnt. How would you describe the UK’s constitution? Select the terms and phrases you think are applicable to the UK’s constitution and add them into the blank box provided. You are not being asked to create an order or hierarchy within the box. This Activity is designed to encourage you to identify the terms and phrases that you think provide an accurate description of the UK’s constitution.

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There were a number of terms and phrases that you could have identified as relevant to the UK’s constitution. These included:

  • Uncodified
  • Parliamentary sovereignty
  • Flexible
  • Constitutional principles
  • Conventions
  • No one is above the law
  • Separation of powers
  • UK Parliament
  • Monarch
  • Statutes
  • Rule of Law
  • Scottish Parliament
  • Welsh Assembly
  • Northern Ireland Assembly

The other terms could apply to a written constitution (such as codified). The UK does not have a federal constitution (although some lawyers based outside the UK see the devolution settlements as moving towards a federal framework). Democracy does not form part of constitutional arrangements - it follows from them.

A federal constitution is one in which a national government and specificgovernments (for example, the devolved administrations) each has their own powers which are specified by the constitution.