First chamber franchise, where a democratically elected first chamber, sitting as the first chamber, appoints members of the second chamber as part of their parliamentary business, is missing from taxonomies of bicameralism both descriptively and normatively. It has, however, operated in the Isle of Man for more than a century. Reflection on that experience contributes to the existing literature on both bicameralism, and small states, in particular at that intersection which is bicameralism in small democracies. The Manx experience shows that first chamber franchise can retain those key advantages of bicameralism most applicable to small democracies, while avoiding problems posed by alternative forms of appointment to the second chamber in such democracies. Doing so, however, needs to take account of the importance of treating the exercise of this franchise as a public duty, rather than a private right; recognising and minimising the danger of party capture of the second chamber; and being attentive to the importance of details of parliamentary procedure in implementation of first chamber franchise.
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School of Law and Social Sciences
Year of publication: 2023Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-07-19