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The UK Supreme Court and Brexit

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.

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Referendum

Referenda: like the egg that was excellent in parts*

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’.

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scotland-referendum

The Referendum in Scotland: Leading the way to a new UK constitutional settlement

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.

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UK Membership of the European Union: The Relevance of the European Union Act 2011- Dilemmas and debates

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.

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Recent UK Constitutional Developments

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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