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Legal System | Law Making

Legislative Process: Disadvantages

Model Answer | A Level

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Discuss the disadvantages of the process of Parliamentary law making

Some argue Parliamentary law making is undemocratic because the House of Lords is not an elected body and so the public is not able to have a full influence. Although the House of Commons is democratically elected many MPs are obliged to vote along party lines rather than in accordance with the wishes of their constituents, for example in the Tuition Fees Bill 2010.

Government control over timetabling often means Private Members' Bills have little chance of success and for example in 2005-2006 session only three out of one hundred and thrity that were introduced became law. Lord Hailsham claimed the dominance of the executive over Parliament denies effective scrutiny amounting to an elective dictatorship .

It can be a slow process because of the number of readings and committee stages meaning an Act can take months to be passed. Royal Assent is just a formality so it is arguably pointless and time consuming. The delays can lead to criticism of the Government for being too slow to react to urgent issues.

The Renton Committee identified problems with the complicated use of language and illogical structure of Acts. These cause problems in understanding and makes laws inaccessible to the ordinary person. It can be difficult to discover the law on a particular issue as sometimes only parts of an Act come into force for example Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 was enacted in numerous parts, mainly to allow for training to take place.

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