The English Parliament, like other modern legislative bodies, --or rather, perhaps, other legislatures are, in this as in so many other things, like the English Parliament--performs three great functions. These functions are naturally closely related; otherwise, in the natural evolution of Parliament and of its activities by differentiation of the Curia Regis, they would scarcely have become associated with Parliament. At the same time, the three interrelated functions are in definite respects to be distinguished from one another. They are, respectively, the making of law, the administering of public finance, and the controlling of the executive.
The close I interrelationship between parliamentary functions renders useless and even misleading any comparison of their relative importance. All of them are highly important; and to assume, as is sometimes done, that legislation, because this function gives to legislatures their generic name, is more important than the other two functions contradicts the simple facts of the situation. Legislation certainly has no claim to priority on historical grounds. If, in modern times, it customarily receives attention first, the explanation is largely to be found in the fact that legislation has come to be the primary, and hence the typical, rather than the most important, activity of representative assemblies.
By the formal process of legislation, Parliament--or, technically, the King in Parliament--as a general rule brings legally binding provisions into existence. This is essentially true whether such provisions deal with a matter not hitherto subject to legal regulation or whether they modify existing legal ar
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Publication information: Book title: The Government of England. Contributors: R. K. Gooch - Author. Publisher: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc.. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1937. Page number: 172.