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Constitutional Law Notes and Topics on Const Law

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Old Thursday, January 31, 2008
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Jargon Guide

• Act – a law passed by Parliament.
• Adjournment debate – a debate that is introduced by an individual MP, with the intention of raising an issue to the relevant Minister. Either takes place at the end of the parliamentary day in the Chamber, or throughout the day in Westminster Hall.
• All Party (Parliamentary) Group (APG/APPG) – informal committees of MPs and peers of all parties who meet to discuss common interests.
• Back benchers – MPs who hold no official position either in the government or in his or her party. The majority of MPs are back benchers.
• Bill – a draft Act of Parliament that is debated by both Houses of Parliament.
• Cabinet – the team of MPs and peers chosen by the Prime Minister to head the government departments.
• Chamber – the room in which MPs and peers sit for debates.
• Committees – groups of MPs and peers who meet to discuss, research and scrutinise key issues. There are two main types of committee: standing committees and select committees.
• Constituency – a geographical area of the country represented by an MP. The population of this area are known as constituents. There are currently 659 constituencies in the UK.
• Democracy – a system of government in which the people vote to decide who runs the country.
• Early Day Motion - this is a kind of parliamentary petition. An MP can table a motion which must be only one sentence and other MPs can sign it to show their support.
• Executive – the branch of the parliamentary system that makes the decisions on what policies to pursue. In Britain’s case, the executive is known as the government.
• Green paper - consultation document that contains a series of proposals that a Minister is considering putting into a new Bill, which invites responses from either selected groups or from anyone with an interest
• Hansard – the official transcript of parliamentary business which is published daily and put on the parliamentary website.
• House of Commons – the Lower House of the legislature, made up of elected Members of Parliament. This house is considered the more powerful of the two Houses of Parliament.
• House of Lords – the Upper House of the legislature, made up of appointed and hereditary peers.
• Legislature – the name given to the body that makes and amends laws – in the British case, Parliament.
• Manifesto – the document produced by political parties during a general election. Each manifesto describes what a party would do if it won the election and formed the Government.
• Members of Parliament (MP) – there are currently 659 Members of Parliament, each representing one constituency.
• Minister – MPs or Peers who are given extra jobs leading or assisting in one of the government departments, such as the Foreign Office. Most

• departments have several ministers, led by a Secretary of State who sits in the Cabinet.
• The Opposition – the second largest political party in Parliament forms the official Opposition. All parties other than the government are considered the Opposition, and they check the work of the Government by asking questions and suggesting alternative ways of doing things.
• Parliamentary Private Secretary – Appointed by Secretaries of State and some Ministers of State from among their own backbenchers to act as the day-to-day liaison between them.
• Parliamentary Questions (PQ) – These are used by MPs to ask Government ministers for information for reply at the daily 30 minute ministerial Questions Time. Each Department Minister is allocated slots to answer questions on issues concerning their Department. Questions can only be tabled by an MP, but most are asked on behalf of outsiders.
• Peer – a member of the House of Lords.
• Prime Minister – the Prime Minister is the leader of the political party that wins most seats in a General Election. He or she is chosen by the party, not the electorate.
• Prime Minister’s Questions – every Wednesday at 12pm the Prime Minister answers questions from MPs about the work of the Government.
• Private Members Bills – Follow the same stages as other public Bills and can be introduced by any MP or Peer.
• Scrutiny – the standard term to describe the close monitoring and examination of the work and actions of government.
• Secretary of State – an MP or peer who is a member of the Cabinet and is in charge of a department, such as health or education.
• Select Committee – a permanent committee that scrutinises the work of a Government department, holds enquiries, and produces reports.
• Shadow Ministers – a shadow minister is a member of the Opposition who has the job of checking on what one of the government departments does, and also outlining what the Opposition thinks ought to be done.
• Speaker of the House of Commons – the Speaker or one of his or her deputies chairs debates in the main Commons chamber, sees that the rules of business are observed, selects members to speak and maintains order.
• Special Adviser – Gives advice to Secretary of State. May also write speeches and act as their ministers’ personal media manager.
• Standing Committee – a temporary committee that is set up to consider a new Bill clause by clause and accept or reject proposed amendments to it.
• Surgery – a time allocated by MPs for their constituents to air views and grievances. Surgeries are usually held on a Friday or Saturday in the MP’s constituency.
• Ten Minute Rule Bill – One of the ways a back bench MP (private Members) can introduce legislation. They have 10 minutes to present, however used more as a means to highlight the need to change the law on a particular subject.
• Westminster Hall – a smaller debating chamber that allows for lower profile debates to take place when the main chamber is in use.
• Whips – MPs who coordinate the timetabling of business through Parliament, and who try to ensure that backbench MPs of their own party vote with the leadership on key votes.
• White paper - offer a detailed outline of a policy, which gives Parliament and outside organisations the opportunity to comment on future legislation. White papers will often become the basis for the actual Bill.


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Old Tuesday, October 13, 2009
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good work dude....
keep it up.
but yar there still remain much of jargons.
Recite a Darood Shareef at least once and now.
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plz seniors help me which books i purchase for constitutional law. . . .urgent reply plz, i wil b very glad

Last edited by Stunner; Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 11:47 PM. Reason: Avoid stretching words ..
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