Chapter 1 Historical context of the UK political system

  • Created by: loupardoe
  • Created on: 03-12-17 12:46

constitution- the set of rules that set out how a country is to operate; establishes links between the diffrent parts of the polticial system and the rights of the citizens

uncodified constitution- a constitution where the laws, rules and principles specifying how a state is to be governed are not gathered in a single document. Instead, they are found in a variety of sources- some written and some unwritten

Anglo-saxon institutions

habeas corpus- a process in law which means a person can appeal to the courts against unfair or illegal imprisonment

trial by jury-the idea that a group of twelve peers would hear the evidence in a case and decide if the accused was guilty

trial by ordeal- the medieval practice of putting the accused through an ordeal to determine guilt

  • witan- a council that advised the king on taxation and military matters
  • established the principle that the King of England should consult with the lords before taxing and commanding the people
  • also their job to decide who should be king
  • trial by jury- the king would determine the sentence, but guilt was decided by the deliberation of his fellow lords
  • England was governed by law and the power of the monarch was limited
  • habeus corpus- even the lowest ranked citizen could appeal to the law about unfair punishment and imprisonment
  • the weakest in society were protected by the rule of law against unfair treatment by the strongest
  • became the underpinning of the revolt of the barons in 1214
  • became the founding principles of the UK constitution when it emerged

Norman and Angevin rule

chancellor of the exchequer- the government official responsiblr for calculating, collecting and distributing government funds through taxation and duties

  • from the Battle of Hastings in 1066 until the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, England was run as a feudal system
  • the king effectively owned all the land and everyone had to swear an oath of loyalty or 'fealty' to him
  • the king would give land to the nobles who would use knights to manage it for the king
  • the nobles would supply an army to the king if the country needed it
  • over time the nobles began to supply cash instead
  • to work out what the nobles owed, the king's chancellor would use a huge chequered mat to calculate the amount of money owed
  • hence the title 'chancellor of the exchequer'
  • as well as being king of England, most kings were also lords in France, owning Normandy, Anjou and Aquitaine
  • kings were often absent and would leave their nobles to run England while they were away
  • helped to establish the principle of royal powers being exercised by someone nominated by the king
  • the absence of the king meant he could not be relied on to preside over court proceedings and dispence justice
  • he would appoint justices of the peace, or judges, who would travel the country and hear cases on behalf of the crown
  • marked the beginning of the English legal system
  • many


No comments have yet been made