Separation of Powers

REVISED VERSION:

The three roles of government, the legislature, executive and judiciary, should be as separate and independent from each other as is possible in a parliamentary democracy. These branches of government need all to be accountable to the public. This principle ensures that power cannot be abused and that a single person or entity cannot create a law, find someone guilty of breaking it, and sentence them as well. 

OLD VERSION:

If this has already been covered elsewhere, please forgive and ignore me!

The separation of powers is already covered by many aspects of the existing UK "constitution" but in a rather weak and informal manner, and I believe it would be hugely beneficial to codify it in a new written constituion.

The principle of separation of powers exists to ensure that power cannot be abused, by breaking up the three roles of government - legislature, executive, and judiciary. The principle in effect means that a single person or entity cannot create a law, find someone guilty of breaking it, and sentence them as well.

Many (most?) developed countries adopt this principle, but surprisingly few actually have it written constitutionally. We should set an example.

edited on Apr 13, 2015 by Salka Margrét Sigurðardóttir

Salka Margrét Sigurðardóttir Apr 8, 2015

TomPeach-Geraghty, do you have any suggestions on how we can officially write this statement? I think this clause is good: "The principle of separation of powers exists to ensure that power cannot be abused, by breaking up the three roles of government - legislature, executive, and judiciary. The principle in effect means that a single person or entity cannot create a law, find someone guilty of breaking it, and sentence them as well," but we need to add something to it about how the separation of power is executed in the British system. 

Ian Hodgson Apr 8, 2015

Under the present UK constition powers are not entirely separated though as the executive is drawn from the legislature- this has worked reasonably well in the UK and in other commonwealth counties. Compare to the USA where the executive is separate to the legislature which also holds election every two years resulting in an executive that can not pass its legislation or finance bills leading to lame duck administrations. The judiciary should be seperate.

Salka Margrét Sigurðardóttir Apr 13, 2015

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Malcolm Ramsay Apr 17, 2015

There is another proposal which supports this (though it hasn't seen much activity either): 'Remove the greasy pole to number 10' (in the Parliament section) – https://constitutionuk.com/post/81412

I suggest that separation between the Judiciary and the other two branches is taken care of in other proposals, particularly Conor's threads on how judges are appointed and overseen. I'd say the easiest way of ensuring separation between Parliament and Executive is simply to require any MP who is appointed as a Minister to give up their seat (which would create two different political career paths). I suggest:

Any Member of Parliament who is appointed to the office of minister shall give up their seat in Parliament

Listed below are some loosely related links: a couple of proposals in the Government section which require the PM and Cabinet Ministers to be appointed by Parliament and another in the Parliament section which says that MPs may not have second jobs:

 

Malcolm Ramsay Apr 17, 2015

Another proposal making the same point is 'More Power to People and Parliament': https://constitutionuk.com/post/81906

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