Tuesday 23 October 2007

What is "Constitutional"

I've been exploring with my law students at Leicester University, the subject of what constitutes a 'constitutional' issue. The tutorial question invited them to bring in 5 recent newspaper articles "that appear relevant to the UK's constitution."

One thing is clear - constitutional issues dominant the news - because the relationship between the citizen and the state - and the rules governing the makeup and operation of the institutions of the state - are matters which are key issues for people. So what stories did my students point to?
  • whether there should be a referendum on the EU treaty?
  • should courts be made more open - by televising them?
  • Is it right that one person should have the sole right to select election day?
  • what sanctions should be applied to a person who tells parliament something that might not be true?
  • What will the effect of the EU reform treaty be on Britain's constitutional set-up?
  • The rights of non-citizens
  • the impact of the EU treaty on devolved government