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The Contemporary House of LordsWestminster Bicameralism Revived$
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Meg Russell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199671564

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199671564.001.0001

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Bicameralism in Theory and Comparative Perspective

Bicameralism in Theory and Comparative Perspective

(p.41) 3 Bicameralism in Theory and Comparative Perspective
The Contemporary House of Lords

Meg Russell

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a broad survey of bicameralism (i.e. two-chamber legislatures) in constitutions around the world. It briefly discusses the history and justification of bicameralism, then presents data about all contemporary bicameral legislatures at the national level. It describes the many different means by which second chamber members are chosen, and the varying powers that these institutions have. This shows the House of Lords to be less exceptional than it might seem, since many second chambers include members who are not directly elected by the people, and the powers of the Lords are moderate in international terms. The chapter asks what is special about second chambers, and which factors are associated with their strength. It points out that these bodies are often controversial, thanks both to their membership and their role in challenging elected first chambers.

Keywords:   Bicameralism, legislatures, constitutions, presidentialism, parliamentarism

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