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Paper Assignment Instructions: England’s Justice SystemScenario
In this assignment you will find yourself in various countries as a criminal! In the scenario and analysis you create you will truly be an international criminal. The “crime” committed can be of your choosing is long as it is illegal in the country we are studying which is England’s Justice System.  You will find that this very deep dive into the criminal justice systems of this country we study will help you become a world criminal justice system expert.  
The following is your prompt for the setting of your paper:
1) You are a US Citizen that is travelling to the country we are studying
2) You arrive at the country
3) You commit a crime
a. Make the crime interesting enough to write about
b. Make the crime of a nature that you will work through the country’s criminal justice system
c. Do not get caught up in the detail of the crime at the expense of the analysis – this will lead to failure of the assignment! 
4) You are caught by the country’s law enforcement officers
5) You do not have diplomatic immunity and the country is balking at any means of negotiation with the US for your release from the crime and subsequent punishment
The following is an outline of what you should cover in your paper: 
1) Begin your paper with a brief analysis of the following elements:
a. Country analysis
i. Introduction to the country
ii. People and society of the country
iii. Economy
iv. Transnational issues (if applicable) that may impact law enforcement
v. Relations with the United States
b. What is the basic government structure and its relationship to the criminal justice system
c. What is the “legal family” or basis of law in the country 
d. What are the major components of the criminal justice system in the country
2) Please explain the following elements:
a. What crime did you commit? How were you caught? In other words, briefly set up the scenario.
b. Explain the country specific law 
c. Explain from first contact through arrest and questioning your experience with the country’s law enforcement officials
d. Explain the detention process you will experience as a foreign national for the crime you committed
e. Explain the judicial process you’ll experience for the crime you committed
f. Explain the detention, corrections, and/or incarceration process you’ll experience for the crime you committed
  
3) Provide an analysis on:
a. The effectiveness of the criminal justice system in the country
b. The human rights perspective of how you were treated through the lens of the country where you were caught
c. A Holy Bible comparison/analysis of the criminal justice system of the country where you were caught  
Each research paper should be a minimum of 8 to 12 pages. The vast difference in page count is due to the fact that some countries are quite easy to study and some countries have very limited information. In some instances there will be a plethora of information and you must use skilled writing to maintain proper page count.  Please keep in mind that this is doctoral level analysis and writing – you are to take the hard-earned road – the road less travelled – the scholarly road in forming your paper.
The paper must use current APA style, and the page count does not include the title page, abstract, reference section, or any extra material. The minimum elements of the paper are listed above.
You must use the following sources:
· At least 8 recent, peer reviewed sources (past 10 years unless waived by professor): some countries may have more recent research articles than others
· 2 verses/citations from the Holy Bible
· 1 recent newspaper article on the country of study
· Books may be used but are considered “additional: sources beyond the stated minimums. 
· You may use .gov sources as your recent, relevant, and academic sources as long as the writing is academic in nature (authored works). 
Again, this paper must reflect graduate level research and writing style. If you need to go over the maximum page count you must obtain professor permission in advance! Please reference the Research Paper Rubric when creating your research paper. 
Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the SafeAssign plagiarism tool.
CJUS 701

Scenario Paper Grading Rubric

Criteria

Levels of Achievement

Content

(70%)

Advanced

92-100%

Proficient

84-91%

Developing

1-83%

Not Present

Total

Introduction

17 to 18.5 points:

The introductory paragraph contains a strong thesis statement, research question (s), and/or statement of research purpose
and
provides an overview of the paper.

15.5 to 16.75 points:

The introductory paragraph contains a moderately developed thesis statement, research question(s), and/or statement of research purpose.

1 to 15.25 points:

The thesis statement, research question(s) and overview of the paper need improvement.

0 points

Not present

Analysis

19 to 20.5 points:

The topic is clearly presented and discussed in detail. Key terms are defined as needed. Complex issues are navigated with precision.

17.25 to 18.75 points:

The topic is presented and discussed appropriately. Key terms are defined as needed. Complex issues are recognized.

1 to 17 points:

The topic is unclear or fairly clear but discussed too broadly or does not meet expectations. Contextual factors are weakly considered and lacking in some significant areas. Complex issues are overlooked or handled without care.

0 points

Not present

Research & Support

17 to 18.5 points:

· Sources are evaluated critically for applicability in the paper.
· Research may incorporate multiple viewpoints of complex issues.
· Arguments are correctly supported with research.

15.5 to 16.75 points:

· Sources are used correctly.
· Research is aware of multiple viewpoints of complex issues.
· Research is aware of multiple viewpoints of complex issues.
· Arguments are correctly supported with research.

1 to 15.25 points:

· Sources are used but not critically evaluated.
· Arguments incorporate limited research but often include personal opinion without appropriate support.
· Sources are, at times, not used appropriately.
· Research is not aware of multiple viewpoints of complex issues.

0 points

Not present

Conclusion

14.25 to 15 points:

The conclusion is strong and clearly summarizes the research presented in the body of the paper.

13.25 to 14 points:

The conclusion summarizes the research presented in the body of the paper.

1 to 13 points:

The conclusion does not adequately summarize the research presented in the body of the paper.

Christian Worldview

14.25 to 15 points:

Creates Christian Worldview (CWV) Section and applies CWV elements and support in explanation of the training program with specific biblical references (book, chapter, and verse).

13.25 to 14 points:

Creates Christian Worldview Section and applies general CWV elements and support in explanation of the training program with global referencing to biblical references (reference does not have book, chapter, and verse, rather, “the Bible says type of references).

1 to 13 points:

Christian Worldview mentioned. No specific section in the paper. Only general CWV elements and support in explanation of the training program with global referencing to biblical references (reference does not have book, chapter, and verse, rather, “the Bible says type of references).

0 points

Not present

Structure (30%)

Advanced

92-100%

Proficient

84-91%

Developing

1-83%

Not Present

Total

Mechanics

11.5 to 12.5 points:

· No grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors are present.
· Voice and person are used correctly and consistently. Writing is precise. Word choice is appropriate.
· Student has proper page count.
Eight to twelve
double-spaced pages (or more if page count waived by instructor) not including title page, abstract, or reference section.

10.5 to 11.25 points:

· Few grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors are present.
· Voice and person are used correctly. Writing style is sufficient. Word choice is adequate.
· Student has 70% of the proper page count of
eight
double-spaced pages not including title page, abstract, or reference section.

1 to 10.25 points:

· Several grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors are present.
· Voice and person are used inconsistently. Writing style is understandable but could be improved. Word choice is generally good.
· Student has less than 70% of the proper page count of
eight
double-spaced pages not including title page, abstract, or reference section.

0 points

Not present

Current APA Format

11.5 to 12.5 points:

· Citations and format are in current APA style.
· Cover page, abstract, main body, and reference section are correctly formatted.
· Paper is double-spaced with 1-inch margins and written in 12 point Times New Roman font.

10.5 to 11.25 points:

· Citations and format are in current APA style with few errors.
· Cover page, abstract, main body, and reference section are present with few errors.
· Paper is double-spaced with 1-inch margins and written in 12 point Times New Roman font.

1 to 10.25 points:

· Citations and format are in current APA style though several errors are present.
· Cover page, abstract, main body, and reference section are included though several errors are present.
· Paper is double-spaced, but margins or fonts are incorrect.

0 points

Not present

Research Elements

11.5 to 12.5 points:

· Academic primary and .gov (when necessary) are used well and include a minimum of 11 citations as listed below.
· 8 recent (past 10 years unless waived by professor), relevant, academic (peer reviewed) journals preferred. However, professional journals (no more than 50%) and .gov references may be used for this requirement.
· Must use at least 2 Holy Bible citations.
· Must use at least one recent newspaper article on the country of study.
· Students may use additional sources to support their claims and may use non-academic sources as long as the minimum requirements above are met.
· The best 11 citations will be graded.

10.5 to 11.25 points:

· Research is aware of multiple viewpoints of complex issues.
· Academic primary and .gov (when necessary) are used well and include a minimum of 70% of the required 11 citations as listed below.
· 8 recent (past 10 years unless waived by professor), relevant, academic (peer reviewed) journals preferred. However, professional journals (no more than 50%) and .gov references may be used for this requirement.
· Must use at least 2 Holy Bible citations.
· Must use at least one recent newspaper article on the country of study.
· Students may use additional sources to support their claims and may use non-academic sources as long as the minimum requirements above are met.
· The best 11 citations will be graded.

1 to 10.25 points:

· Less than 70% of the Academic sources required 11 citations as listed below are used. Reliance on popular sources is evident.
· An incomplete or inaccurate reference section is provided.
· 8 recent (past 10 years unless waived by professor), relevant, academic (peer reviewed) journals preferred. However, professional journals (no more than 50%) and .gov references may be used for this requirement.
· Must use at least 2 Holy Bible citations.
· Must use at least one recent newspaper article on the country of study.
· Students may use additional sources to support their claims and may use non-academic sources as long as the minimum requirements above are met.
· The best 11 citations will be graded.

0 points

Not present

Professor Comments:

Total:

/125

CJUS 701
CJUS 701

Paper Assignment Instructions: England’s Justice SystemScenario

In this assignment you will find yourself in various countries as a criminal! In the scenario and analysis you create you will truly be an international criminal. The “crime” committed can be of your choosing is long as it is illegal in the country we are studying which is
England’s Justice System
. You will find that this very deep dive into the criminal justice systems of this country we study will help you become a world criminal justice system expert.

The following is your prompt for the setting of your paper:

1) You are a US Citizen that is travelling to the country we are studying
2) You arrive at the country
3) You commit a crime
a. Make the crime interesting enough to write about
b. Make the crime of a nature that you will work through the country’s criminal justice system
c. Do not get caught up in the detail of the crime at the expense of the analysis – this will lead to failure of the assignment!
4) You are caught by the country’s law enforcement officers
5) You do not have diplomatic immunity and the country is balking at any means of negotiation with the US for your release from the crime and subsequent punishment

The following is an outline of what you should cover in your paper:

1) Begin your paper with a brief analysis of the following elements:
a. Country analysis
i. Introduction to the country
ii. People and society of the country
iii. Economy
iv. Transnational issues (if applicable) that may impact law enforcement
v. Relations with the United States
b. What is the basic government structure and its relationship to the criminal justice system
c. What is the “legal family” or basis of law in the country
d. What are the major components of the criminal justice system in the country
2) Please explain the following elements:
a. What crime did you commit? How were you caught? In other words, briefly set up the scenario.
b. Explain the country specific law
c. Explain from first contact through arrest and questioning your experience with the country’s law enforcement officials
d. Explain the detention process you will experience as a foreign national for the crime you committed
e. Explain the judicial process you’ll experience for the crime you committed
f. Explain the detention, corrections, and/or incarceration process you’ll experience for the crime you committed

3) Provide an analysis on:
a. The effectiveness of the criminal justice system in the country
b. The human rights perspective of how you were treated through the lens of the country where you were caught
c. A Holy Bible comparison/analysis of the criminal justice system of the country where you were caught
Each research paper should be a minimum of 8 to 12 pages. The vast difference in page count is due to the fact that some countries are quite easy to study and some countries have very limited information. In some instances there will be a plethora of information and you must use skilled writing to maintain proper page count. Please keep in mind that this is doctoral level analysis and writing – you are to take the hard-earned road – the road less travelled – the scholarly road in forming your paper.
The paper must use current APA style, and the page count does not include the title page, abstract, reference section, or any extra material. The minimum elements of the paper are listed above.
You must use the following sources:
· At least 8 recent, peer reviewed sources (past 10 years unless waived by professor): some countries may have more recent research articles than others
· 2 verses/citations from the Holy Bible
· 1 recent newspaper article on the country of study
· Books may be used but are considered “additional: sources beyond the stated minimums.
· You may use .gov sources as your recent, relevant, and academic sources as long as the writing is academic in nature (authored works).
Again, this paper must reflect graduate level research and writing style. If you need to go over the maximum page count you must obtain professor permission in advance! Please reference the Research Paper Rubric when creating your research paper.

Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the SafeAssign plagiarism tool.
Page 1 of 2

1

Chapter One: England

ENGLAND is a small island country situated off the northern coast of France. Throughout its history, the country has been referred to as England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom.
The official name changes occurred as a result of England’s political union with its territorial neighbors. For example, in 1707, England and Wales united with Scotland. This geographic alliance became known as Great Britain. When the southern counties of Ireland formed the Irish Free State in 1922, the official name of Britain changed again—this time to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
In this chapter, we are concerned only with the geographical area known as England and Wales. The reasons for this are quite simple. Scotland is not a common law country; its criminal justice system consists of a mixture of common and civil law. This was a result of its political association with France in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Scotland retained some of the legal characteristics that are indigenous to civil law countries such as France. Northern Ireland is not included in this study as a result of the problems that exist between the Protestant and Catholic factions of that country. The serious nature of these problems, although they are beginning to be resolved, has caused the criminal justice system to be altered somewhat from the common law system that exists in England and Wales.
England and Wales encompass an area of 58,350 square miles, which is a little larger than the state of Michigan (see 
). Many of the roughly 57 million inhabitants live in the highly industrialized cities of the country. Although England no longer retains the industrial supremacy it once possessed, the country continues to be a world leader in the manufacture of heavy machinery. Agriculture, fishing, and oil are some of England’s other important industries. The legacy that the people of England have given the rest of the world is significant and indeed remarkable. The English have made major contributions in science, philosophy, literature, and the arts, but their most important and striking contribution to the historical evolution of civilization has been the creation of the common law and the development of parliamentary democracy.

The foundation for England’s political and legal institutions was established between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. It was at this time that the monarchy negotiated several compromises with the nobility and, in the process, asserted its central authority. Following the English Civil War, which occurred during the first half of the seventeenth century, the modern basis for the country’s political institutions was established. The power of the monarchy was curtailed, the authority of the House of Commons was secured, and the emergence of political parties was established. Efforts at further reform and modernization were completed during the nineteenth century.
As the country prepared to enter the twenty-first century, it embarked upon an intense period of government reform. What is particularly striking about these reform efforts is the fact that much of it is devoted to significant constitutional issues. The adoption of these initiatives is designed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of democratic government.

While it is far too early to assess the impact that these reforms will have on governance, one consequence is clear: The role and power of some units of the central government have shifted.
The Constitution
Many countries throughout the world have a written document called a constitution in which the political and legal beliefs of the country are expressed. England does not have this type of constitution; it has been characterized as having an unwritten or, more appropriately, an uncodified constitution. The British constitution is a blend of statutory law, precedent, and tradition that dates back to the time of King Henry I (1100). A large part of English constitutional law is based on statutes passed in Parliament. Statutory law is an important factor in the creation of this kind of “organic” constitution. This is best illustrated by citing some of the significant statutes that were instrumental in developing British constitutional principles. These, in turn, have had a profound impact on the creation of written constitutions in other countries.

Magna Carta

The first document that carried with it this kind of significance was Magna Carta. In 1215, King John was forced by English nobles to sign this charter, which was an expression of rights and privileges of the upper class in medieval England. The charter consisted of 62 chapters or issues identified by the nobles. Several of these address what we would consider basic concerns for the administration of justice and illustrate early principles that today are central legal values associated with the rule of law. For example, chapter 38 noted: “In the future no bailiff shall upon his own unsupported accusation put any man to trial without producing credible witnesses to the truth of the accusation.” Chapter 40 proclaimed: “To no one will we sell, to none will we deny or delay, right to justice.” And chapter 45 announced: “We will appoint as justiciaries, constables, sheriffs or bailiffs only such men as know the law of the land and will keep it well.”
Chapter 39 was the most important and famous of these chapters, and is particularly pertinent to criminal justice. It stated:
No free man shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will we proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers and by the law of the land.
For a number of years, some of the chapters in Magna Carta were misinterpreted. For example, chapter 39 was described as originating trial by jury and the writ of habeas corpus, but both assumptions are false. To the twenty-first-century reader, the real value of Magna Carta is that it is the first attempt to explain in legal terms the germ of the idea of government by a constitutional process.

The Bill of Rights

Another important historical document is the statute known as the Bill of Rights. Before Parliament offered the English crown to William III and Mary II in 1688, it required their acquiescence to principles that became known as the Bill of Rights. Among the principles that appeared in the statute were:
· Parliament should meet frequently to redress grievances and pass legislation.
· Members of Parliament should be elected freely.
· Freedom of speech should be assured during the proceedings of Parliament.
· The Crown cannot suspend or create law without the consent of Parliament.
· Excessive bail or fines should not be imposed nor cruel and unusual punishments permitted.
The principal significance of this statute was that it established a clear foundation on which to build a modern constitution.

The Act of Settlement

The Act of Settlement of 1700 was another statute that proved beneficial in establishing the modern constitution. One of the most important provisions of this act was the recognition that judges should hold office only during good behavior and could be removed only with the consent of Parliament. These statutes, along with others, clearly stated that the monarch must govern by and through Parliament. Since the seventeenth century, there have been other significant statutes passed in Parliament that have in some way altered the British constitution. Unfortunately, they are too numerous to list within the confines of this text. These examples provide the reader with a sense of how some basic constitutional principles were incrementally introduced, which usually coincided with Parliament enhancing its authority.

The Human Rights Act

As mentioned earlier, the government has embarked upon an intense period of reform that has some important constitutional implications. One of the most significant of these initiatives was the passage of the Human Rights Act (1998). Although this legislation received the royal assent in 1998, all of the sections to the act were not in force until October 2000. The significance of this legislation is that it enables violations of the provisions of the European Convention to be adjudicated in English courts.
The European Convention on Human Rights was ratified by the United Kingdom in 1951, but it was not incorporated into domestic law. Nevertheless, the country has been bound by its terms and court judgments under international law. The Convention is similar to a written constitution, like the Constitution of the United States, in that it is a listing of fundamental principles associated with a democratic form of government. The Convention consists of a series of articles that address such rights and freedoms as the right to life; prohibition of torture; prohibition of slavery and forced labor; right to liberty and security; right to a fair trial; no punishment without law; right to respect for private and family life; freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; freedom of expression; freedom of assembly and association; right to marry; prohibition of discrimination; restrictions on political activity of aliens; prohibition of abuse of rights; limitation on use of restrictions on rights; protection of property; right to education; right to free elections; abolition of the death penalty; and death penalty in time of war.
In 1966, citizens of the United Kingdom were empowered to petition the European Court on Human Rights, which is based in Strasbourg (France), if they believed one of their aforementioned rights had been violated by the government or an agent of the government. Unfortunately, such an appeal was costly to the petitioner, because legal aid was not available and the process took a good deal of time in light of various court delays. Five years has often been cited as not being an uncommon length of time for a case to work its way through the court. Since the enactment of the Human Rights Act (1998), as a significant feature in domestic law, citizens of the United Kingdom can now initially petition an English court to adjudicate allegations of various abuses associated with human rights.
Many scholars view the Human Rights Act (1998) as a new chapter in the evolution of English constitutional law, because all public authorities now have a duty to comply with the Convention on Human Rights (Wadham and Mountfield, 2000). It is important, however, to note the distinction between a statutory and a constitutional duty. Most European countries adopted the Convention as part of their fundamental or basic law. This kind of incorporation enables the courts of a country to rule that a national law is incompatible with the Convention. This type of adoption did not occur in the United Kingdom because the English judiciary does not have the authority to overturn parliamentary decisions, that is, to declare a law unconstitutional. Granting the judiciary that kind of power would be a rejection of the idea of parliamentary sovereignty.
The Human Rights Act (1998) does address the issue of English law being incompatible with rights spelled out in the Convention. According to Sections 3 and 4 of the act, English courts can issue a declaration of incompatibility. This enables courts to indicate to the government that remedial action should be taken to correct that portion of a domestic law that is not in compliance with the fundamental democratic principles represented in the Convention. Thus, although English courts do not have the power to override the authority of Parliament, the role of the judiciary has been enhanced considerably by this legislation. The judiciary has been given the authority to encourage both the executive and legislature to take corrective action when domestic legislation is not in compliance with human rights provisions.
It should be noted that there are derogation statements in both the Human Rights Act, Section 1(2), “[t]hose Articles are to have effect for the purpose of this Act subject to any designated derogation or reservation,” and The European Convention on Human Rights, Article 15, “[i]n time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation.” The issuance of a derogation order is of particular relevance in recent years as a result of the international concern over terrorism. For example, the British government derogated from Article 5 of the Convention, which deals with a person’s right to liberty and security, specifically as it relates to being arrested or detained by the police. This was necessary because parliament passed the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act (2001), which permits the detention of suspected terrorists for extended periods of time that would not be permitted under a typical criminal investigation.
The reader should also be cognizant of some other characteristics of the British constitution. First, Britain is a unitary country and not a federated state. Therefore, Parliament is supreme over the entire United Kingdom. Although this principle remains in place, it should be pointed out that as part of the constitutional reform effort, devolution has been granted to Scotland and Wales. In 1999, representatives were elected to the newly established Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly. Second, Parliament exercises supreme legal power in Britain. As a result, no English court can declare an act of Parliament unconstitutional. The limitations imposed on the authority of the courts in the Human Rights Act (1998) illustrate the importance of this principle to English jurisprudence. Finally, there is a fusion of powers in Britain, rather than a separation of powers as is the case in the United States. Both the executive and legislative branches of government are found in Parliament. Until relatively recently, the highest court in the land, the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords, was also situated in Parliament. With the passage of the Constitutional Reform Act (2005), however, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom was created to replace the Appellate Committee and became operational in October 2009.
The passage of the Human Rights Act (1998), House of Lords Act (1999), and the Constitutional Reform Act (2005) are illustrations of the “organic” nature of the British constitution. Moreover, the British have been viewed for a long time as a rule-of-law-based country. These statutes, each in their own distinct way, enhance that position even further.
Parliament
The British government has operated under the constitutional principle that the country should be governed by a fused power rather than a separated one. Parliament provides that leadership. It consists of three parts: the monarch, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons.

The Monarch

The role of the monarch in Parliament has been declining for almost 300 years. The reason for this reduction in power is constitutionally and politically related to Britain’s establishment of a government based on democratic principles. Today, the monarch’s importance is symbolic; it represents the unity of the country. For example, all statutes passed in Parliament are carried out in the monarch’s name. Despite a loss of power, the monarch legally retains some authority. The monarch convenes Parliament after an election and dissolves Parliament when an election is required. The monarch calls for the leader of the political party who was victorious in the election campaign to form a government—or, more accurately, an administration for the government.

The House of Lords

Like the monarchy, the power of the House of Lords has diminished considerably. The historical roots of this body are almost as ancient as the monarchy itself. Early English kings traditionally had a great council that consisted of a group of nobles who advised the king on domestic and foreign affairs. The House of Lords is the political descendant of the great council and is considered to be the upper house of Parliament. Its authority has declined, especially during the past 100 years, because the idea of popular democracy is theoretically at cross-purposes with such an unrepresentative element in government.
The House of Lords performs several duties. Until 2009, it was the highest court of appeal in the country, but when it sat as a court, only the lords of appeal in ordinary, also referred to as law lords, took part in the proceedings. The House does a considerable amount of committee work; that is, it examines and revises legislation proposed in the House of Commons. It has been suggested that the House of Commons benefits from this because it has restrictions placed on its time for scrutinizing legislation. The Lords’ most controversial power is the constitutional power to delay the enactment of legislation passed in the House of Commons. With the exception of budget bills, which are the sole prerogative of the House of Commons, the House of Lords may delay the enactment into law of any public bill passed in the House of Commons. This delay cannot exceed one year; if it does, the bill becomes law without the House of Lords’ assent.
While the upper House of Parliament continues to provide a valuable service to the country, the composition of its membership changed with the passage of the House of Lords Act (1999). This was another piece of reform legislation that was designed to reduce the number of hereditary peers sitting in the House. The objective was to eliminate a political anachronism from a governmental process that is based on democratic principles.
To understand the significance of the House of Lords Act (1999), it is useful to consider the composition of the House before the passage of this legislation. The House of Lords was composed of approximately 1,200 members who fell into one of three categories. First, there was a special group that consisted of the archbishops of York and Canterbury; the bishops of London, Durham, and Winchester; and 21 senior bishops of the Church of England. Also included in this special category were the law lords, who were responsible for performing judicial duties for the House, which was the court of highest appeal. Second, the group of hereditary peers made up the majority in the House of Lords, consisting of about 800 members. Although some of these people were very capable, they did not hold their seat in the House because of their ability to deal with legislative matters. Rather, they were members because they held the noble rank of duke, marquess, earl, viscount, or baron—a distinction conferred upon one of their ancestors by an English monarch at some point in the family’s history. Thus, they had the hereditary right to sit in the House of Lords. The third category consists of life peers. The Life Peerage Act (1958) enables the government, through the monarch, to recognize people who have been outstanding public servants or who have made some significant achievement in industry or the professions by appointing them to the House of Lords. Unlike the hereditary peers, a life peer cannot pass the title onto his or her children.
The House of Lords Act (1999) is considered the first of a two-part phase in the reform of the House of Lords. This act eliminated the automatic right of a hereditary peer to sit in the House. It called for the election of 90 hereditary peers to continue to serve, along with the two peers who held the ancient titles of Lord Great Chamberlain and Earl Marshall, making the total 92. This is a considerable reduction from the roughly 800 people who were eligible to sit. The bishops of the Church of England were allowed to retain their seats, but members of the monarch’s immediate family were excluded. The hereditary peers who were excluded from the House of Lords retain their title and are now eligible to stand for election to the House of Commons. While there is a good deal of uncertainty as to when the second phase of the reform of the Lords will occur, what is fairly certain is that the focus of reform will center on the actual powers accorded the Lords and on the nature of the composition of this legislative body—that is, a totally elected or partially elected and partially appointed House.

The House of Commons

Today, the most important component of Parliament is the House of Commons. When people speak of Parliament, they are usually referring to the House of Commons. The origins of this House can be traced to the thirteenth century, but it was not until the seventeenth-century English Civil War that the Commons gained the political ascendancy in Parliament.
Presently, the House consists of 650 elected members. The typical member of the Commons (M.P. for Member of Parliament) is affiliated with either the Conservative or Labour parties. This House, more than the other two components of Parliament, represents the various social and political elements of the British population. The major responsibility of the House is to vote on legislative bills proposed by either the government or a member of the Commons. Another duty is to discuss issues and pending legislation. Members of the party in power are obviously attempting to support the government, while members of the opposition parties (the parties that are out of power) seek to criticize it.
The function of discussing issues and pending legislation also serves a political end for all parties, because England can be considered to be in a continuous election campaign. Until recently, statutory law required that a general election be held every five years, but an election could be called before that time. For example, it was not uncommon for the party in power to call for an early election at a time when opinion polls indicated that it was riding a wave of popularity. In addition, if the government lost the support of a majority on an important vote in the Commons, it could request that the monarch dissolve Parliament and call for an election. Because election campaigns usually lasted about three to four weeks, political parties had to be continually capable of presenting their case to the people for either retaining power or gaining power in the Commons. Thus, the House of Commons continuously provided all parties with a forum for presenting their views to the British electorate.
The Fixed-term Parliaments Act became law in 2011. As the name suggests, this legislation introduced a new procedural rule that parliamentary general elections be held every five years on the first Thursday in May. Obviously, this eliminates the dissolution of Parliament by the party in power often for its own political advantage. The new legislation does permit the calling of an early general election under two circumstances. First, at least two-thirds of the members of the House of Commons vote on a motion to dissolve Parliament and call for an election. Second, Parliament can be dissolved and new elections called if there is a no-confidence vote in the government. This second rationale of calling for an early election had existed under the electoral rules prior to the passage of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (2011).
Prime Minister
In the modern British constitution, the prime minister has become the fulcrum for the English form of parliamentary democracy. The way the political system works is largely dependent on the prime minister. The leader of the political party that has won a majority of seats in the House of Commons is selected to be the prime minister.
The qualities necessary for an effective prime minister are many; the person who occupies this position must be versatile. The reason for this is quite simple. The prime minister must combine into one job a set of responsibilities that in many countries are distributed among a number of people.
The prime minister is leader of the nation. National opinion polls are largely based on the personality and policies of the prime minister. Because the monarch has a right to be consulted on national issues, the prime minister is the personal advisor to the monarch. The prime minister is also leader of his or her political party. Although assisted in this leadership role by party whips, the prime minister nevertheless must function as a party manager and conciliator in keeping party members in line on important legislative issues before Parliament. Finally, the prime minister is chair of the cabinet, which is created by his or her appointments to it and which sets the goals and establishes the policies of the government.
The Cabinet
After the British electorate votes for their candidates, it is the responsibility of the monarch to request that the leader of the victorious party—the one that has won a majority of seats in the House of Commons—form a government. The British executive branch is composed of members in Parliament whose political party commands a majority in the House of Commons. This group is referred to as the cabinet. Membership in the cabinet is dominated by the House of Commons, with a few members from the House of Lords.
Generally, the prime minister includes in the cabinet all the outstanding leaders in the party. He or she is usually careful to include some younger members in order to groom them for future key leadership positions. The wise leader will also assure that the various points of view within the party are represented so that the cabinet serves as a microcosm of the entire party.
Each member of the cabinet is responsible to Parliament for the administration of his or her department. For example, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is responsible for the Treasury Department, while the foreign secretary is the chief executive of the Foreign Office. Collectively, the cabinet is accountable to Parliament for the administration of the entire government. Thus, the cabinet is responsible for three things: controlling the executive branch of government, coordinating the work of various departments, and determining government policy and submitting it to Parliament.
Political Parties
Although England has had three parties vying for power for more than 100 years, the Conservative and Labour parties are considered the major political parties. The benefits of a two-party system are similar to those found in the United States. The party that wins the election usually has a clear majority in Parliament. The formation of a government by the majority party assures a stable and disciplined government. The British electorate has a clear choice at election time to retain the party in power based on its record or to select the opposition party based on its promises for the future.

Conservative Party

The Conservative Party has a long heritage traceable to the seventeenth century. One of its remarkable achievements has been an ability to adapt to the changing political and social climate of opinion for more than 300 years. As is true of any conservative party, British conservatives support traditional institutions and political and social principles. Often they are devout defenders of the monarchy, the Church of England, and social class. Although they may accept change and innovation, they reject change for change’s sake. They prefer to retain established institutions and principles that have stood the test of time. This attitude helps to explain why some members of the party are skeptical of the European Union, in particular, the issue of monetary union.
The Conservative Party supports the principles of free enterprise, private property, freedom of choice, self-interest, and reward for ability; yet, they have accepted in principle the concept of the welfare state. They differ, however, with the opposition regarding the degree and the means with which social services should be provided. As long as change occurs within the framework of the constitutional tradition of parliamentary government, the Conservative Party is willing to accept and endorse state activity in the private sector, as well as social reform in the public sector.

Labour Party

The Labour Party was officially founded in 1900. The party’s ideology can be traced back to the middle of the nineteenth century, when England was the most industrialized country in the world. Throughout the twentieth century, the party supported a socialist ideology. Their political platform emphasized a movement toward extending democratic principles of the political realm to the economic marketplace. Their goals included the nationalization of industries by the government, a more equal distribution of wealth through a progressive income tax and other forms of taxation, the institution of social welfare services for all citizens, and the elimination of a class-based society. Like their conservative counterparts, the Labour Party has been willing to achieve these ends gradually through the parliamentary process.
In the past few years, the Labour Party has attempted to become more mainstream or centrist. To illustrate, they have changed their long-standing commitment to the nationalization of industries. They support a dynamic capitalistic economy that is capable of balancing the objectives of the private sector with the public interest and can display social compassion for the less fortunate. They have espoused a policy that is tough on crime and its causes. Finally, they initiated the current efforts at constitutional reform.

Liberal Democratic Party

In the late 1980s, the Liberal Democratic Party was created out of a merger of two small parties: the Liberal and the Social Democratic Parties. The Liberal Party traced its ideological position back to the seventeenth century. For much of the …

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