Sample Law Coursework Paper on Scottish Public Law / Constitutional Law problem solving

Scottish Public Law / Constitutional Law problem solving

The Scottish people held the first Parliamentary election on 5th May 2016. The election was one of its own since the enactment of new amendments in the elections and referendum Bill. It was the first time minors of 16 and 17 years were allowed to participate in this important national role. This saw an increase in the number of registered voters in Scotland. As much as people can praise the Bill for the masses who participated in the parliamentary elections held last May, it has many unforeseen consequences for the Scottish people. Giving minors the opportunity to participate in a national election is not a brilliant idea, and this makes the Bill controversial (1). From the general definition, adults are regarded to those who have attained the age of 18 years. Thus, they are believed to make informed decisions in life. This implies that allowing the 16 and 17 olds to register as voters lose the whole meaning of the electoral exercise in Scotland. The minors cannot be able to make good judgments on which party or candidate to support.

Therefore, this calls for the Scottish Legislative organ to change this bill by ensuring that those below the age of 18 years are not allowed to vote despite having national identification cards. The Bill also suggest that only British citizens living in Scotland for at least five years are allowed to vote. Indeed, this Bill proves to deny Scotland legit citizens their right of participating in the electoral process. Much should have been done about the Bill by allowing reducing the number of years for those who are eligible to take part in Scotland Parliamentary election after gaining citizenship (2). It does not necessarily mean that those who have not lived in the country have no good knowledge about politics. They are knowledgeable people who should be accorded rights to voting.

Since one has to be registered in Scottish electoral register to vote, great needs to be done to ensure that all eligible citizens are not left out from participating in this important national activity. An amendment should be done to the current law in that the relevant electoral body should pass relevant information and educate people about the importance of participating in the electoral process to avoid late registration. Also, the register should frequently be revised. This will ensure minimal cases of election malpractices which may compromise the integrity of the entire parliamentary elections (3). It is also good as it helps the election officials to prepare and assign election material to various polling stations.

As much as the electoral rules are looking to bar certain people from voting, special considerations should be made especially for those who are legally incapacitated. It is always important to give freedom to people so that they can decide whom they want to lead them. And, am double sure this are people who have the ability to choose those they want to lead them. Therefore, to some extent, this law must be revised to exclude those who are unsound with no ability to make decisions on their own (4). With the increasing number of societies protecting other people’s rights in Scotland, those elected to parliament must ensure to pass laws and makes amendments that do not conflict with other people’s rights.

For Scotland to depict a good picture of a 21st Century state, it should amend election laws that block prisoners from exercising this constitutional duty. Even though this person are imprisoned for various mistakes, they should have the power to choose their leaders. The elected leaders champion rights for free people and those convicted of various crimes. After role, the decisions made by the elected leaders, have an impact on the prisoners and other people fighting in the corridors of justice. Giving them a chance to vote, is a clear indication that Scotland has a good will for its people and generations to come. What the Scottish Parliamentarians need to do is to draft an amendment to the old constitutions so as to reflect a modern society that embraces humanity for all people despite their status in the society.

In the Scottish Bill of Rights, all citizens are entitled to vote so long as they attained the age of majority (1). Therefore, I saw no need why prisoners cannot be allowed to exercise their rights as stipulated in the constitution. For this case, it means that the Scottish laws need a lot of amendments since it cannot give one a right in a particular situation and at the same time give limitations on the same right even when it is not harmful to the state. This election amendment should be enacted by Parliament to ensure that prisoners are registered to vote. For instance, giving prisoners a right to vote sounds much better and reasonable as to allowing toddlers to participate in elections. Therefore, this calls for support from all political parties despite uneven representation in parliament (2). Also, the representatives should make sure to evaluate the importance of this amendment to the Scottish people before taking political stands basing on what their political party leaders seems right.

Given that Scotland is a multiparty state with many parties like Scottish National Party, the Conservatives, Scottish Green Party and other, essential Bills that touches common citizens should be supported in universality manner. But the biggest challenge with the Scottish parliament is that some parties have a larger representation in the house which affects votes when it comes to the passing of important Bill on Amendments of elections and referendum laws. For instance, the Scottish National Party won a third consecutive election with the largest number of Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) (3). This greatly impacts the manner in which the Scottish Parliament passes its laws. The reason being that the party with the majority MSPs will dictate the manner in which they vote for Bills once they come to the floor of parliament to be discussed before being assented into law.

Therefore, for one to succeed passing an important Bill, it needs lobbying which is difficult for the minority. This is why you find that the giant party will always vote out a Bill even when it meets all necessary requirements. Because of this, the Scottish citizens should be involved in a referendum to amend certain sections that bar the state from progressing positively (4). This will give a chance to the minority to express their views through public participation instead of trying and error in parliament whereas they know their Bills cannot pass easily. Before this is achieved, the legislators should amend the constitution to establish when a motion can be passed for the country to go to a referendum.

The Bill of giving the Scottish Minister extra legislation power is very dangerous to the state. This means that the Minister has the authority to hold any intention to hold a referendum in Scotland no matters the pressurizing events in the political scene. In a way, I propose a reduction of such powers since they can help the greedy to run the country into disorder. The moment this Bill will receive a Royal Assent, things will change in Scotland. This powers should have been left to the Members of the Scottish Parliament since they represent the views of people from the grassroots. Thus, they better understand what ordinary citizens go through from day to day. Parliament should be the only arm of the government that passes laws (2). The Scottish Minister should only be given the authority of enhancing Assenting of laws that have passed all the necessary processes in parliament.

Since the Bill has passed Stage Three with support from the Scottish Green Party, I call for Members of the Scottish Parliament to go through it again and make the necessary changes before it becomes a law. If members find that the Bill is unbearable in its current state, they can agree to vote it out. Luckily enough the Scottish National Part and Conservatives have not yet shown their position pertaining the Bill (1). I hope their integrity will not lead the Scotland into a constitutional crisis as we have seen in previous years. Therefore, each Member of Parliament should take a personal position when it comes to voting for the Bill in Parliament.

Evidently, Scotland in the May 5, 2016, parliamentary elections, allowed those aged 16 years and above to participate in the elections. This was not a great idea since this are minors who have not developed in making sound decisions regarding politics. Scotland only allows British citizen who has lived in the country for at least five years to participate in the electoral exercise. Those who are legally incapacitated are not allowed to vote. On the same note, those imprisoned for more than 12 months are blocked from this important exercise. In the elections, the Scottish Green Party won the third round with majority Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs). The Bill that passed Stage Three seeks to give the Scottish Minister the powers to hold a referendum on any question that may require him or her to do so. The Bill has received support from Scottish Green Party, which has six representatives.

Bibliography

Leyland Peter. The constitution of the United Kingdom: A contextual analysis. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.

McLean, Iain, Jim Gallagher, and Guy Lodge. Scotland’s choices: the referendum and what happens afterwards. Edinburgh University Press, 2014.

Parpworth Neil. Constitutional & Administrative Law. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Webb Paul. “The continuing advance of the minor parties.” Parliamentary Affairs 58, no. 4 (2005): 757-775.