Constitutional Reform of 1997 in United Kingdom

Category: Justice, King Tut, Reforms
Last Updated: 02 Aug 2020
Pages: 3 Views: 200

The UK constitution has a modaretely successful history, it is highly tradition and has stood the test of time and, based on the fact that Britain has never suffered a violent revolution unlike France, we can therefore assume that the UK constitution has many beneficial and enduring strengths. Our constitution ensures that Parliament, and therefore Government, can act quickly and decisively as they are unrestricted by excessive constitutional constraints. It is flexible and adaptable which clearly shows thorugh after the 2010 general elections.

However, the lack of restraints on the powers of Government and Parliament may be dangerous especially to minority and invidual rights. There have also been many doubts about this traditional constitution and many questions have been raised to do with the Monarchy and outdated institutions such as the FPTP system. The lack of separation of powers between Government and Parliament means that Government tends to dominate which in many eyes is seen as undemocratic.

The first constitutional reform was to do with devolution; Scotland Act of 1998, Wales Act of 199 and the Belfast Agreement of 1998. The original nature of this reform was so that considerable powers were transferred to the devolved representative bodies and executives. Labour wanted to bring about this change due to the fact that they were hugely popular in Wales and Scotland and so the Acts were a means of thanking them for their support.

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This reform has been believed to be long overdue and has been very beneficial and have given each body the right to have more control over their region however it has caused a bigger rift of the UK and therefore has separated Britain even more. The second reform was the Human Rights Act of 1998. This reform has been extremely beneficial for minority and invididual rights, which has been reflected most recently in the Abu Qatada case where a man who had made terrorist plans has been saved from deportation to Jordan, where he would have most likely been prosecuted for his actions.

The European Convention on Human Rights made this Act binding on all public bodies but the UK Parliament due to Parliament being sovereign. Although this act has been beneficial, it would have had more impact should it have been binding on Parliament. Another reform was the House of Lords ; the House Of Lords Act of 1999. Most of the hereditary peers lost their voting rights and there was a major cut down in the number of hereditary peers as it was lowered down to just 92.

There was also a decision to separate the Judges from the Lords ( Constitutional Reform Act of 2005) and move them into a seperate building across the road. It is believed to be a moderate decision which has limited the powers of the Lords as many believed there should not be any hereditary peers. In fact a proposal has been put forward for a whole new house to be created. There were 3 other major changes introduced : Greater London Authority Act 1999, Local Government Act 1999 and Freedom Of Information Act 2000.

The first established an elected mayor in London with an elected assembly to which s/he is accountable for, the second allowed for local communities to elect a mayor if approved by a local referendum and the third gave the citizens the right to view documents and records of public bodies. Each of these has helped to reinforce democracy within the UK and helped to protect the rights of each citizen by ensuring they are more politically involved and have the right to appoint and elect candidates for powerful positions.

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Constitutional Reform of 1997 in United Kingdom. (2017, Aug 22). Retrieved from

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