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Accountability in the Contemporary Constitution$
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Nicholas Bamforth and Peter Leyland

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199670024

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670024.001.0001

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Accountability of and to the Legislature

Accountability of and to the Legislature

Chapter:
(p.259) 11 Accountability of and to the Legislature
Source:
Accountability in the Contemporary Constitution
Author(s):

Nicholas Bamforth

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670024.003.0011

Theories concerning the roles of courts and legislatures entail certain assumptions about or explicit views concerning accountability. A traditional political constitutionalist might prioritise accountability of the United Kingdom government to the Westminster Parliament over judicial review, whereas a legal constitutionalist might focus on the role of the courts. In reality, of course, there is a range of accountability relationships relating to the legislature, and the priority one accords to each will tie directly to one's background approach. This chapter favours a ‘dialogue’ perspective, and tries to explain debate about accountability-related devices associated with the Westminster Parliament – ministerial responsibility and/or accountability, for example, or Parliamentary privilege – by reference to it. Scrutiny of anti-terrorism measures also offers a key illustration of the role played by a combination of judicial and political methods, with ‘dialogue’ between them, in promoting accountability in a sensitive and central area of the constitution.

Keywords:   Legal and political accountability, legislature, ministerial responsibility and accountability, constitutional conventions, Parliamentary committees, Parliamentary privilege, national security, Joint Committee on Human Rights, Independent Scrutineer

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