The separation ofpowers is a principle of the United Kingdom’s unwritten constitution, whichcorroborates that different roles should function independently and that noindividual or group should have complete power.
These powers are usually separatedinto three institutions. The legislative which refers to parliament bodies whommake the laws, the executive, which includes government ministers and civilservants, are responsible for enforcing the law, and the judiciary where thelaw is then interpreted and applied in courts by judges. The main function ofthis concept is to protect individual liberty and ensure that too much power isnot concentrated into the hands of one institution and branch.1 Inits original form, the idea of separation of powers indicates that these threeroles should not overlap, and that no two functions should be carried out bythe same institution to avoid one authority dominating the UK government. This essaywill look at the extent to which the system is followed, and assess whether it isthe guiding principle to the United Kingdom’s constitutional arrangements. There is controversyin the UK over the model for the governance of a state as there are many circumstanceswhere the requirements of this concept are not properly followed.
Overlapsbetween different institutions are often made causing disagreements over howimportant the separation of powers actually are in the UK. For instance, NeilParpworth argues “A separation of powers in the purest sense is not, and hasnever been, a feature of the UK constitution.”2This argument is easy to comprehend since it is clear there is a relationshipbetween each institution because of the parliamentary democracy that the UKsystem upholds, causing there to be no proper separation between parliament andgovernment, which proves it is not a concept that the UK fully adheres to.
Itis believed that not following a strict system and not having separation in theUK but in fact allowing these overlaps, enables for a proper cooperationbetween each institution and thus without this there would complete segregationin the constitution. Saunders backs up this argument and states “a completeseparation of powers is possible neither in theory nor in practice”.3Therefore, looking at this arguments made, it would be contradictory to suggestthat it is the main and guiding principle of the UK’s constitutionalarrangements. However, the idea of aseparating powers is to prevent sovereignty in one of the three institutions. Iftoo much power was focused on one institution instead of a proper separationthen this would be undemocratic, especially considering that for examplemembers of the judiciary are not voted in by public domain. Professor Eric Barendtand Baron Montesquieu state that “if too much of one kind of power isconcentrated in one institution, there is more of a risk of that power beingabused to reduce freedom”,4giving clear justification to the purpose of the concept. In the UK, it must beconsidered that government and parliament have tried to incorporate someconcepts of separation of powers as they are still separate and independentestablishments, regardless of being entwined in some ways.
They formed fromdistinct historical origins and each is continually following its ownmethods 1 https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=v3uNAgAAQBAJ=PA105=too+much+power+is+not+concentrated+in+one+institution=en=X=0ahUKEwiOysrI5r_YAhXMKlAKHc4YBecQ6AEIPDAD#v=onepage=too%20much%20power%20is%20not%20concentrated%20in%20one%20institution=false2Neil Parpworth, Constitutional AndAdministrative Law (9th edition, Oxford University Press 2016)3Found in textbook page 1324Found in textbook page 132