UK

by Ian Cram, School of Law, Leeds University. Sitting for the first time as a full 11 member panel, the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court has handed down its ruling in the most significant constitutional law case in the UK for over a generation. The ruling has been eagerly anticipated both in the UK, Europe and beyond and touches upon a range of major constitutional issues that will have significant legal and political implications.
by John McEldowney On 23rd June 2016, the UK held a referendum on EU membership. The referendum question was “ Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? The answer surprised some, but delighted others, 51.9% wished to leave while 48.9% wished to remain.
by David Gwynn Morgan. At first sight, who could possibly be against a referendum of all the citizens, as a means of taking the major decisions affecting the polity. A sort of precursor of this institution comes trailing clouds of glory from the Golden Age of Athenian Democracy, when all 100,000 of, at any rate, the free males assembled in the stadium to debate and vote on major collective decisions affecting the polis. And at the present day, the notion of the referendum chimes well with such notions as: citizen participation in government, ‘civil society’, distrust of ‘professional politicians’.
by John McEldowney The referendum held in Scotland on 18th September 2014 on Scottish independence is a significant event that will prove to be of major constitutional significance for the United Kingdom as well as for the devolved administrations in Wales, Northern Ireland and London for years to come. The NO vote in favour of the 307 year old Union gained a comfortable 55% majority over the YES, in favour of independence of 45%. Electoral turn-out was one of the highest seen in the UK at over 85% of the electorate. In the East Darbartonshire constituency the turnout was 91%. Sixteen year olds were given the vote for the first time.
by John McEldowney. Introduction. The rise in popularity of the United Kingdom Independence Party(UKIP) in the UK amidst the possibility of popular support for euro-sceptic political parties raises major constitutional issues about the UK’s continued membership of the EU. A recent TV debate between the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of UKIP proved how difficult it was to present technical arguments for membership in the context of popular scepticism about the EU. Winning the argument to stay in the EU will not be easy as a promised “in/out” referendum is likely to be held if the Conservative Party win the next election. The time-table for the next general election is fixed for May 2015 but the run up to that election will set an unprecedented time for the UK. There are considerable self-imposed constraints on the UK’s approach to the EU that mark a considerable departure from the approach of previous governments.
by John McEldowney The UK is undergoing a period of rapid constitutional change and innovation. The Labour Government elected in 1995, implemented a number of constitutional changes mainly because of election manifesto promises including: Devolution to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, a newly elected Mayor and London Assembly; the Human Rights Act 1998; partial reform of the House of Lords in 1999 and also the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, with the creation of a Ministry of Justice and the setting up of a UK Supreme Court.

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Swiss votations on February 9, 2020

by Prof. Markus Kern / Fabian Schmid, University of Bern

On February 9, 2020, two proposals were up for decision by the Swiss electorate:
– the Popular Initiative claiming “more affordable homes” as well as
– a referendum concerning a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in criminal law
The Popular Initiative was rejected by 57.1% of the Swiss population and by all but 4½ of the cantons, whereas the amendment of criminal law was clearly accepted by a majority of 63.1% of the voters. Electoral turnout was at 41.7% resp. 40.9%.

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Illiberal constitutionalism 2 – constraints on public power

by Tímea Drinóczi, Professor, University of Pécs, Faculty of Law, Hungary

Illiberal states emerging in Europe, such as Hungary and Poland, are still constitutional democracies, which are shaped peacefully by populist politicians from a more substantial form of constitutional democracy that prioritizes (liberal) constitutional values through the use of populist style of governance, abusive constitutionalism, and autocratic legalism.[1] In our cases, the minimum requirements of a constitutional democracy, such as the rule of law, human rights, and democracy, have been defectively worded in a constitution, or poorly implemented or enforced.

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