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Legal System | Law Making

Pressure Groups: Evaluation

Model Answer | A Level

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Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of pressure groups in Parliamentary law making

Advantages include the fact they increase public awareness of issues and engagement in the legislative process which enhances democracy. Pressure groups can keep Parliament in touch and allow particular interests and causes to be heard. Campaigning can encourage non political, cross party activity and sharing knowledge, for example during the AV referendum campaigns. Pressure groups can act as expert advisers to legislators leading to a better informed law making system, such as Liberty.

A disadvantage is that pressure groups tend to present a one sided argument and sometimes only small numbers of people are involved in groups so it can give a distorted voice to a few. They can be criticised for being undemocratic as they maybe influencing elected representatives on issues they were voted in on and groups may themselves be undemocratic, group members may not even be in agreement with each other. Some groups can use illegal tactics and even promote corruption and it is difficult for outsiders to gain the access of some bigger lobbyists. Powerful groups can have a disproportionate effect, for example the Music industry (BPI) lobbied for the controversial Digital Economy Act 2010, which allows internet disconnection for copyright infringement and has been the subject of judicial review claims. A lack of finance or media support can serious hinder campaigns and add to the perception that influencing the law is only available to the rich and powerful.

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