- Slides: 11
KEY STATUTES AND CONVENTIONS
Some key statutes • • • Magna Charta Habeas Corpus Act 1679 Bill of rights 1689 Parliament Acts (of 1911 and 1949) Representation of the people Act 1918 Irish free state Constitution Act 1922 Representation of the People Act 1949 European Communities Act 1979 Freedom of Information Act 2000
Magna Charta • Latin for Great Charter, literally "Great Paper" also called Magna Carta Libertatum (Great Charter of Freedoms) • English legal charter, originally issued in the year 1215 • Written in Latin • The first document forced into an English King by a group of his subjects (the barons) in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges • Preceded by the 1100 Charter of Liberties in which King Henry I voluntarily stated what his own powers were under the law
Habeas Corpus Act 1679 • passed during the reign of King Charles II • defines and strengths the ancient prerogative writ of habeas corpus, whereby persons unlawfully detained can be ordered to be prosecuted before a court of law.
Bill of rights 1689 Declared • Freedom from royal interference with the law • Freedom from the standing army during a time of peace • Freedom for Protestants to bear arms for their own defence, as suitable to their class and as allowed by law • Freedom to elect members of parliament without interference from the sovereign • Freedom of speech and debates; or proceedings in Parliament
Parliament Acts (of 1911 and 1949) • Parliament Act 1911, asserted the supremacy of the House of Commons by limiting the legislation-blocking powers of the House of Lord: legislation can be passed without the approval of the House of Lords • Amended by the Parliament Act 1949, which further limited the power of the Lords by reducing the time that they could delay bills, from two years to one.
Representation of the people Act 1918 • Abolished practically all property qualifications for men and enfranchised women over 30 who met minimum property qualifications. The enfranchisement of this latter group was accepted as recognition of the contribution made by women defence workers. However, women were still not politically equal to men (who could vote from the age of 21); full electoral equality wouldn't occur until the Representation of the People Act 1928.
Irish free state Constitution Act 1922 • Preamble of five clauses • Introduced by the Prime Minister Lloyd George • The Preamble, passed by the Provisional Parliament of the Free State, bases the Constitution on the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921.
Representation of the People Act 1949 • Prohibited those attending top universities (such as Oxford and Cambridge) from voting for a university MP and essentially ceased the practice of plural voting. • Those on the UK electoral register were only allowed to vote once, and to vote in one constituency in any general election, and thus vote only once, even if for some reason they were registered in more than one.
European Communities Act 1972 • Provided for the incorporation of European Community law into the domestic legal order of the United Kingdom. • It is not to be confused with the European Communities Act 1972 (Ireland) which did the same thing for the Republic of Ireland.
Freedom of Information Act 2000 • Introduces a public "right to know" in relation to public bodies. • The Act implements a manifesto commitment of the Labour Party in the 1997 general election. • The full provisions of the act came into force on 1 January 2005.