1. What are the principal sources of the constitution?
They are statutes, documents such as Magna Carta, works of authority (Erskine May, Bagehot and so forth) as well as rulings by courts. Conventions are also part of the constitution.
2. What is the essential characteristic of a source which is deemed constitutional? What, for example, distinguishes the status of the Act of Union with Scotland from the Road Traffic Act 1983?
The Act of Union touches on affairs of state. It is of major importance and was intended to have effect forever. Of course it is subject to repeal and may be repealed if the referendum calls for Scotland leaving the United Kingdom. The Road Traffic Act is of minor importance and does not affect affairs of state. The Act of Union is seen as having an influence on all other laws – Scotland and the rest of the UK have to conform to each other to a degree.
A constitutional convention is an unwritten agreement about the ways things should function and accepted patterns of behaviour. Such conventions are not laws and there is no legal sanction for breaking them.
4. How can conventions be distinguished from understandings, habits, practices and legal rules?
A convention has higher status and is expected to be adhered to by all sides. However, such habits, practices and understandings may ossify into conventions over time. A legal rule has the force of law by definition. A legal remedy is available if this legal rule is broken.
5. Which Act of Parliament?
a. Prevents Roman Catholics from succeeding to the Crown.
The Act of Settlement 1700
b. United England and Scotland?
The Act of Union 1707/
c. Incorporates the majority of substantive rights under the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law?
The Human Rights Act 1998.