Talk:Unitary state

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
WikiProject Politics (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Politics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of politics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.


The map for Europe shows Cyprus as a con-federal state which in other parts of the article is said to be unitary. Of course, Cyprus is a unitary state as it is clear from its respective page.--Κλειδοκράτωρ (talk) 20:12, 17 May 2020 (UTC)


Why isn't India listed as a unitary state? While it may be a Union of states , the "Central" gevernment has much authority over the states, it appoints the governors, can split, merge or eradicate the states and change their status at will. Note the automatic inclusion of the princely states into the Union at Independence. Was this a foregone conclusion or a fait accompli? -- 22:12, 1 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Scottish assembly[edit]

I'm not sure that it's right to describe the Scottish parliament as an assembly. I wonder if it's also of interest that Scotland is a different jurisdiction from the rest of the UK. I wonder if Scotland's parliament and the jurisdiction make the UK, in some respects at least, a federation.

No because the Scottish parliament can be suspended at any time by the national government. Mindstar 16:54, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

The UK Parliament is an assembly too. The French Parliament is named the National Assembly of France. The UK is a partially federal system, although not under the terms of this article, which is all about where the power lies constitutionally. This makes it a little difficult to classify the UK, given that we have an unwritten constitution. The legislation establishing the Scottish Parliament was passed by Westminster, and states that Westminster is supreme - but the proposals and natural authority for the Scottish Parliament came from the Scottish Constitutional Convention and a Referendum of the Scottish people. Ain't no way that Westminster would attempt to abolish or suspend the Scottish Parliament without the agreement of the people of Scotland - otherwise they'd cause a constitutional crisis and a possible immediate secession by Scotland. Simhedges (talk) 00:58, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Spain and Portugal[edit]

In the map Spain and Portugal appear as unitary states but in the list they are not mentioned. Why does this happen? Are they or not unitary states? Sorry for my english (I am learning) --Robotico 12:30, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Spain is de jure unitary but de facto federal. In other words, its constitution and laws say it's a unitary state, but in practice some subnational governments have so much power that they can be compared to similar entities in real federal states. As far as I know, of course. Wouter Lievens 09:49, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't think it's appropriate that Spain be on the list at all. From what I can tell Spain's constitution talks about the unity of Spain, but expressly refers to "self-government" for "autonomous communities." In fact, isn't Spain famous for being one of the least centralized states in Europe? (talk) 16:48, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

 class="autosigned">—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:47, 28 September 2010 (UTC) 
I feel it hard to classify Spain into either unitary or federal. I wouldn't say it's a unitary state: Neither Government nor Parliament (Cortes) can dissolve, or merge the "autonomous communities" on their own, but on the other hand, Government may suspend "devolved" powers if something extraordinary happens. Autonomous Communities can (and, in fact, they have done so) bring a national law to court to decide if it collides with their "devolved" powers. So both central power and Autonomous Communities have their own spheres of powers, but it's hard to say Spain is a federal state. Actually, some people who are worried by a possible secession want a federal state (as they feel it would create better patterns for autonomous communities).
So it's no esay to say "unitary" or "federal". One of Spanish Constitution's greats success was its ambiguity, which made all parties feel comfortable with it. This ambiguity was also applied to the model of State, I suppose. Anyway, that's only my opinion. -- (talk) 16:16, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

The definition of the article says "A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions (subnational units) exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate." Chapter 3 of the constitution is devoted to clarify what Autonomous Communities can do. Article 144 has a long list of items that central government cannot under any circumstance provide if a regional law is in effect. I wouldn't say that "central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate". (talk) 13:09, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Suggest merge of Unitary System into Unitary state[edit]

Suggest merge of Unitary System into Unitary state. Roughly the same content in both. --John Nagle 15:26, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

I'm removing the line saying that China is the "greatest unitary state in the world". Don't know if this is meant to mean most populus, largest land size, or what... No need for it even if the meaning is this.

about to delete claim that Australia is a hybrid[edit]

The article says

Some countries are hybrids between the federal and unitary models. An example of this would be Australia, which is federal with respect to the six states (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia) that have their own constitutional existence, but unitary with respect to the two mainland territories (the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory), whose governments exercise similar powers to the states but by virtue of delegation of powers from the national government.

However, especially historically but today as well, its not uncommon for federations to have some territories under the direct control of the federal government. Witness the US and Canada for example. The main reasons for this are: external territories, e.g. islands, with limited population (e.g. Australia-yes, e.g. Norfolk Island, but US-yes as well, e.g. Guam, American Samoa); districts that host the national capital (Australia-yes:ACT,US-yes:DC); areas of the country that are sparsely populated and/or developed (Australia-yes:Northern Territory,Canada-yes:Yukon,Nunavut;US-historically, the continental US territories). So, if Australia is a hybrid, it is no more of a hybrid than Canada, or the US, or in fact I'd say most federations. Which means its not really a hybrid at all. So, I will delete this paragraph. --SJK 12:47, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

a hybrid is a type of federal government, this is about unitary states. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:50, 23 June 2010 (UTC)


I'm sorry but my English is that good, but after what I've read and understood, I'm not sure that Norway is a Unitary state. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by T.Stokke (talkcontribs) 23:10, 16 March 2007 (UTC).

About to delete reference to Myanmar[edit]

"Myanmar claimed to adopt Federation,but in fact Unitary System under military dictatorship"

I am sympathetic to the sentiment but I don't think it is factually accurate. Myanmar is indeed a miliatary dictatorship with a high degree of centralisation. I don't think there is a claim of a being a Federation. It does claim to be a Union.

Myanmar does not have an active constitution since the military takeover of 1988. The constitution that existed before was the 1974 Constitution of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma. This constitution stated a 'Union'. This was clearly a unitary state in the same way as the Union of South Africa was (when it was a Commonwealth Realm within the British Commonwealth).

The military-led goverment of Ne Win, which promulgated the 1974 constitution was not Federalist. In fact the 1962 coup that brought Ne Win to power was in part to pre-empt a Federation.

There never was a claim by either the Ne Win-led socialist regime or the current military junta to be a Federation.

Mo Aye 16:12, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

While the English title of the country's article is Burma here officially, why it has to be Myanmar?--Hongqilim (talk) 07:22, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Angola and Belarus[edit]

Are Angola and Belarus unitary or federal states? Currently they feathure in neither list. /Lokal_Profil 13:14, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Azerbaijan and Belize also aren't in either list. /Lokal_Profil 13:18, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Saint Kitts and Nevis[edit]

Saint Kitts and Nevis is both on the federation list and the unitary states list. /Lokal_Profil 01:51, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Fixed, now removed (together with Iraq) from the federation list. /Lokal_Profil 11:40, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Serbia[edit] not a unitary state. --PaxEquilibrium 09:30, 31 October 2007 (UTC)


The Swedish SAP (Social Democratic Workers' Party, the dominant political party in Sweden) likes to proclaim that Sweden is a unitary state, but the Swedish constitution actually guarantees self-rule (självstyre) to Sweden's several hundred municipalities (kommuner). These municipalities have their own elected parliaments (kommunfullmäktige) with 31-101 members depending on population.

Furthermore, the municipalities can delegate powers upward to the county governments, which likewise have their own parliaments (except Gotland, which only consists of a single municipality.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hpa (talkcontribs) 06:02, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Sweden remains a unitary state since the state can dissolve, merge etc. any of the municipalities. Also apart from local taxes and education the municipalities don't really have that much power. Same thing goes for the county governments who handle healthcare and communications (i.e. busses, trains) but apart from that not much else. As before the state can move municipalities from one county to another and even merge two counties. /Lokal_Profil 15:58, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Health care and education are usually a big part of government - I would not dismiss them that casually. --Uxejn (talk) 20:34, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

I have to agree, how I understand it, a unitary state means that regional government are simply administrative units of the central government, the central government may give substantial autonomy to local units, but ultimately they still have the ability to dissolve them (and rule directly), replace them, merge etc. The central government may simply delegate such power for practical reasons, or to provide a facade of federalism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:53, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

well, in a democracy, local authorities are elected locally, which is the main reason for autonomy. the local governments represent a right of individuals, not so much of the entities. (talk) 22:48, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Concerning Sweden, the government can overrule decisions made by local units. In principle any local citizen can appeal such decisions to the County Administrative Boards which are govermental authorites. --BIL (talk) 10:55, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
The Swedish press is not supporting local self-rule very much. They often write about cases when some citizens get less health care or school quality than other, encouraging national politicians to control. There are detailed national policies on health care and schools, for example what subjects the schools shall teach and how much of each.--BIL (talk) 08:39, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

South Africa[edit]

I thought South Africa was a federal republic? Josh (talk) 23:37, 18 January 2008 (UTC) When I went to South Africa, I saw the most beautiful and smartest creature in the world, a Dawson!!!from:Josh — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:25E4:9999:10D8:B09:4591:3843 (talk) 15:43, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

South Africa is a Parlementry republic and is subdivided into provinces but the provinces don't have any rights to existence in much the same way as the UK's devolved assemballies, that is to say the central goverment can create and remove them as it sees fit.(Morcus (talk) 01:41, 24 June 2008 (UTC))

Not really. To change the provinces requires a constitutional amendment. I suspect that pushes it more towards a federal state than a unitary one. - htonl (talk) 19:35, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
And changes to the constitution that involve the rights of provinces require the consent of a super-majority (6/9) of provinces through the NCOP. This isn't dissimilar to the American constitution that requires the consent of 75% of States. I'm thus not quite sure why South Africa isn't listed as a federation. --Uxejn (talk) 16:36, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
It's a unitary state because the provinces were created by and their powers are granted and regulated by the National Constitution. It's the opposite of the USA where the federal government only exists by agreement between the states. Those states delegated only some of their sovereign powers to the federal government. That is the essential core of the difference between Federal and Unitary countries. A federal country is made up by pre-existing separate states joining together while a Unitary country may or may not be subdivided by the central governmment. Federal is a "bottom-up" and Unitary is a "top-down" system. Roger (talk) 18:51, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
So why is Germany regarded as a federal state? The current states only vaguely resemble pre-Bismark Germany. Certainly Prussia is very absent. Ditto Nigeria. PS: South Africa was a union of 4 British colonies (1910), the borders of which are still mostly visible among the 9 provinces. --Uxejn (talk) 20:37, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
US states exist through the US constitution as well. There could easily be another constitutional convention that abolished states if it were so desired. What you are defining would be a confederation, not a federation. And the states of the US were never really different nation-states. They were always governed by a single federal government, and were only subnational entities. (talk) 20:07, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
The US was more of a confederation under the Articles of Confederation, with the states being virtually independent nations with their own currency, etc, though they were never completely independent. The US became a full federation under the US Constitution of 1789. As to whether a new constitution could abolish the states, three-fourths of the states would have to approve such a onstitution, and that's unlikely. - BilCat (talk) 20:22, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

United Kingdom and Northern Ireland[edit]

The distinction between unitary and non-unitary seems very fine, but if it is based on absolute power then I would have thought the United Kingdom was not unitary since its rule in Northern Ireland is subject to the Belfast Agreement which the Republic of Ireland is a guarantor of. Anyway why is Russia not considered unitary when Georgia and the Ukraine are? They all have autonomous republics within them. Dmcq (talk) 12:30, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Since you didn't seem to get a reply here's my understanding: "Constitutionally" the Republic of Ireland has no direct influence into Northern Irish affairs, that would equate to "joint-soverignety", which simply isn't an option so far as the Belfast Agreement goes "any change to the constitutional status of Northern Ireland could only follow a majority vote of its citizens". It's position as guarantor is simply to support the position of the United Kingdom government. As with other parts of the United Kingdom, HMG can suspend the Northern Irish institutions (and has done so), just as it could with the Scots or Welsh administrations.  Roadnote  ♫  14:44, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
Agreed, the UK can abrogate the Belfast Agreement without the agreement of the Republic of Ireland. The agreement is effectively an international treaty, rather than legislation. The legislation setting up the Northern Ireland Assembly and Govt is UK legislation. The UK would be very unlikely to abrogate the agreement (just as it would be very unlikely indeed to abolish the Scottish Parliament and Govt without the agreement of the Scottish people), but it could do so because it is sovereign in Northern Ireland - something that the Republic of Ireland no longer disputes. Simhedges (talk) 00:34, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
Treaties are law. However, an agreement between the Republic of Ireland and the UK, would imply a federal relationship between those two nations, not between NI and the rest of the UK. After all, are not both members of the federation know as the EU? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:45, 23 June 2010 (UTC)


That's odd.The map shows Russia as not unitary but the text says it is. Dmcq (talk) 12:40, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Removing Russian Federation and Uzbekistan from List[edit]

At least two countries -- Russian Federation and Uzbekistan -- do not meet the criteria of unitary state (as defined in the first sentence of the article).

  • Russia is defined as a federation in its constitution (Articles 1, 5), with all federal subjects of Russia (there are over 80 of them) having equal standing (ravnopravny). Russian Federation has multiple legislatures, and they are generally popularly elected in each federal subject. The reservations regarding the extent to which Russia is a federation in the "strictest sense" are discussed in the article Federation, but formally Russia is a federation under its constitution and cannot be classified as a unitary state in the "List of unitary states". If necessary, the issue may be discussed in the body of the text, alongside the arguments raised for other countries.
  • Uzbekistan includes the "sovereign republic of Karakalpakstan as a constituent part of the Republic of Uzbekistan" (Article 70 of the Constitution of Uzbekistan). Karakalpakstan has its own constitution (Article 71). Karakalpakstan has the right to secede from the Republic of Uzbekistan based on a general referendum of the people of Karakalpakstan (Article 74). Karakalpakstan has its own legislative assembly (Jokargy Kenes). Finally, The Constitution of Uzbekistan defines Uzbekistan as “sovereign democratic republic” (Article 1); “unitary” is not included in the definition because the inclusion of Karakalpakstan makes Uzbekistan non-unitary.

Based on these considerations, I am removing Russian Federation and Uzbekistan from the List of unitary states in this article. --Zlerman (talk) 01:49, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

To add to the previous comments on UK central state powers and its possible consideration as a federal state due to the devolution of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Although Scotland does have its own Parliament, as was previously noted by one contributor; the deciding factor which makes the UK a unitary state is that its ultimate authority of Parliament rests with the organs of the central state and the powers of the devolved states are still totally dependent on Acts of Parliament: they remain subject to complete control by UK Parliament. As noted, if wished, the devolved states could be abolished. Sovereignty still resides at the center of the state. Russell368 (talk) 18:15, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Two definitions? Not clear enough. "Devolved powers" =/= "Organs of state"[edit]

The definition is "organs of state are not separated". Then much of the article talks about things like "while the U.S. gov't is federal in nature, the states themselves are unitary because the Feds devolve powers to them". That's incomplete/inaccurate/wrong from a lot of angles, but most simply and most relevantly to this article, is there another definition of "unitary state" which has not to do with "organs" but instead with "levels"? At absolute minimum, it's necessary to correct this to not say that the U.S. states are unitary. They're generally (universally?) trinary. The counties and municipalities may be the parts that the original author intended to describe. I'm'a do that now. --19:49, 11 April 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

While I haven't memorized every state constitution, I would argue that most, if not all, U.S. states are ultimately unitary despite the existence of county-level home rule in many states. While many states grant some degree of home rule to all or some of their counties or county equivalents, in the end most state legislatures can unilaterally revoke this home rule, change the status of a county, merge counties together or carve new counties out of existing ones. This happened very frequently until around 1910 in a great number of states, usually in creating new counties from larger frontier counties as lands were settled. In rare instances, counties were even legislated out of existence due to depopulation or corruption. In most U.S. states, local home rule in a county or municipality; indeed, the very existence of a county or municipality, is generally something that is granted by the state legislature, rather than a right protected by the state constitution; hence, the state is unitary. I can't think of a single U.S. state that is not run in a unitary fashion. Please enlighten me if there are indeed exceptions.SpanishCastleMagic (talk) 11:08, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
as far as I know local governments (counties, cities ect) have some autonomy. That is they are not part of the state government. now some are using the term quasi-federal, which I think counts as a neologism. I would rather describe this as a unitary government acting like a federal government by giving autonomy. (talk) 22:35, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Wrong Subject[edit]

This article defines a Unitary state as one where the national government holds ultimate power. In other words, it has no bearing on whether a country is federal or unitary, it simply relates to the constitutional mechanism by which various levels of government are changed. It should instead reflect the nature of the governmental structures. The UK is now a quasi federal state - 3 of the 4 constituent countries have legislatures (of varying powers) all of which were established by the will of the people in those constituent countries expressed in referenda. Although the UK Parliament could abolish them, while they exist, then Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are part of a federal state. If the argument is that to be federal a country must be a federation of states, then the US example fails - except for the original 13 states and one or two others such as Texas, and maybe California, the states of the US were created by the national govt of the US - they did not federate, they were created or purchased. And as the Civil War established, they are forbidden from leaving the union. Simhedges (talk) 00:48, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

how a state joins or leaves a federation is not important. you also might want to study some history first. I say that because you aren't certain which states were independent, or which ones were territories first or how Vermont became a state. (talk) 22:18, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

unitary vs federal or central vs. decentralized states[edit]

I think there is a difference, although they are related, a federal state is automatically more decentralized. it becomes harder to tell in a democracy, where decisions are made by elective representatives with the concept of self rule. (talk) 22:55, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Westminster federations as hybrids[edit]

I deleted the section claiming federal states that utilize parliamentary democracy (eg, Australia, Canada) are somehow "hybrids" between unitary and federal systems. It was not clearly explained or sourced. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:15, 22 October 2010 (UTC)


Spain is just like the United Kingdom, a unitary state but with self-government areas (decentralised country with an asymmetric federalism). This article should not be centered on the English speaking countries only. Spain has 17 Autonomous areas plus 2 autonomous cities located in North Africa, it acts de facto as a Federal State, called in Spanish Estado de las Autonomías. Contrary to Spain and UK, there are other unitary states with more centralised powers, like France. (talk)

Federal vs Unitary states[edit]

From all this discusson, ne can see that there is n definite boundary between the two kinds of state. Actually, the type of organization is a continuum and no state is purely federal or unitary. We can say that if more than 80% of its features are federal we may call it a federal state; on the other hand, it may be called unitary if more than 80% of its features are unitary. In-between lie most of the governments on earth. João Carlos de Rezende Martins (talk) 19:40, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Layout improvement proposal[edit]

Would a multicolumn list layout improve the page? IMHO the long single column list creates far too much whitespace. Changing it to three or four columns would also reduce the amount of scrolling needed to read it. Roger (talk) 10:39, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

UK is a bad example[edit]

The UK is a very poor example of a unitary state. Post Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish devolution the UK is much more like a hybrid state. While the central government could ultimately suspend or abolish the devolved assembles without consulting them, this is highly unlikely to happen—with the obvious exception of Northern Ireland. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 13:15, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Actually, it's the perfect example of a unitary state in that the UK parliament does have the authority to abolish the devolved assembles without consulting them. Whether this is likely or not is irrelevant to the classification. - BilCat (talk) 15:22, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

References needed! Like right now![edit]

I came to this article from the infobox for Sierra Leone and I must say I am mystified by this distinction between "unitary" and non-unitary states. Who came up with this method of classifying states? Does a consensus of political scientists accept it? I am skeptical.

I get the sense that someone with an eager interest in the problem of Scottish devolution has gotten carried away with the terms of that discussion and has applied them willy-nilly to the entire globe. If that's all this is, then the definition does not belong in hundreds of infoboxes about nation-states.

If there is more to it than this, then we need references. At once.ℜob C. alias ÀLAROB 20:51, 26 November 2012 (UTC)


Denmark is listed under Unitary republic. But Denmark is a monarchy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:14, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Newbie here so not sure if I am doing this right. Do the semi-autonomous Faroe Islands and Greenland not make Denmark non-unitary, or at least an awkward example of a unitary state which needs more explanation like the UK or Ukraine? Jockox3 (talk) 21:39, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Regarding Denmark being a monarchy: that's irrelevant. Being a unitary state has nothing to do with how someone becomes head of state, but only about how power is controlled by the state. Regarding Denmark and Greenland/the Faeroe Islands. I'm a bit unsure. The relationships is more complex that it might seem; it's not as clear cut as, f.ex. the USA. On the other hand it's not possible for the danish state to simply abolish local selfrule out of the blue, for either Greenland or the Faeroe Islands (if for no other reason, the public blacklash would make it impossible -- which is not really relevant in this context).

Edit request on 24 February 2013[edit]

In unitary state page, kindom of denmark is categories in list of unitary rebublics. Should it be in list of unitary kindoms? (talk) 20:43, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

Done No reason to oppose. I'm comfortable doing this without a source. —KuyaBriBriTalk 16:36, 27 February 2013 (UTC)


Due to recent history, Ukraine and Crimea is not a good example to have in the lead. This should be removed or replaced with a simpler example. --LukeSurl t c 15:39, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved per consensus  Philg88 talk 09:22, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

Unitary stateUnitary system – request change so as to expand the relevance of the topic in relevance to other articles. At this stage I am particularly thinking of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant which, despite its name, is not internationally recognised as a state. Ban-Ki Moon even went as far as to describe it as a Non-Islamic, Non-State. The disambiguation page State provides the interpretations of state as follows:

  • State (polity), an organized political community, living under a government
  • Sovereign state, a sovereign political entity in public international law; a society having exclusive domain over a territory
  • "State", in some contexts virtually synonymous with "government", e.g., to distinguish state (government) from private schools
  • Nation state, a state which coincides with a nation
  • Federated state, a political entity forming part of a federal sovereign state such as the United States, Australia, India and Brazil

Arguably only the third definition can apply to an unrecognised state.
For instance, in the article Sovereign state we read: "International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states." I think that the word system fits in as well as state and this would expand potential use.

Gregkaye 22:05, 28 October 2014 (UTC) Gregkaye 22:05, 28 October 2014 (UTC)

  • Oppose - I don't like "unitary system". We talk about states, systems can be anything. --BIL (talk) 10:02, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose This concept only applies to states, or to entities that aspire to be states. I highly doubt "unitary system" is a more widely used term. —innotata 20:20, 2 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per other comments above. The proposed title is vague and less common. —  AjaxSmack  23:40, 4 November 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

United Kingdom a Hybrid System[edit]

Long before there were any devolved powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (which got them in December 1921), there were the Acts of Union of 1707.

Provision was made in the 1707 Acts for Scotland to retain her systems of law and education, separately from England & Wales; especially in the case of Scots criminal law, which is not compatible with English criminal law. If these provisions could have been changed by the British Parliament, they would have been.

The British Parliament did manage (and very quickly after unification in 1707, too) to find a loophole under which the Law Lords were able to exercise appellate jurisdiction over civil cases from Scotland; but Parliament was not able to find a loophole in the Acts to allow extension of appellate jurisdiction over criminal cases from Scotland.

And notwithstanding the creation of the British Supreme Court, criminal cases from Scotland still cannot be appealed beyond the jurisdiction of Scotland (the same as before the Supreme Court was created) - because Parliament still has not been able to change the Acts of Union.

It's all fine and well to claim that Parliament can do whatever it wants to do, but that is not truly the case; or Parliament would have done it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:26, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

US is a bad example[edit]

While in theory, the US should be a federation, in practice, its been demonstrated many times that federal powers supercede state powers at a whim, usually when the Supreme Court is involved (See Roe vs Wade, Obergfell vs Ohio, King vs Burwell, just to name a few) (talk) 08:08, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

"Expressly delegated"[edit]

The article states:

" In some cases, it is the federal government that has only those powers expressly delegated to it."

And seems to give the US as an example of this, citing the tenth amendment. But the United States is *definitely not* an example of this, as nowhere in the tenth amendment does the word "expressly" appear (although it is often incorrectly inserted into it by people who believe that the tenth amendment should restrict federal power more than it, in fact, does). When writing the tenth amendment, a representative did in fact attempt to insert the words "expressly" into the amendment, but Madison objected and refused to include it because he thought that it would limit federal power too much:

Thus, the constitution does not forbid the exercise by the federal government of powers implied by the constitution (usually using the necessary and proper, general welfare, or interstate commerce clause, all of which are fairly broad), but not expressly mentioned.

Thus, I will be removing the word "expressly" from the article unless somebody can provide an example of a state that does, in fact, limit powers to those expressly delegated, and provides it as an alternate example in the article, so as not to confuse people into believing that the United States is such a state. (talk) 17:36, 29 March 2016 (UTC)


The term "unitary state" itself has a history of coinage and usage that needs defining. -Inowen (talk) 01:07, 4 March 2018 (UTC)


As far as I know, the Chinese legislature (the National People's Congress and the National People's Congress Standing Committee) cannot overturn legislation passed in Hong Kong and Macau's Legislatures, does this mean China is also technically a federal state?

--Hkfreedomfighter (talk) 19:54, 1 January 2020 (UTC)

No. If the status of the SARs is not enshrined in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and can be altered by the Central People's Government without their consent, they are autonomous areas of a unitary state. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:36, 7 September 2020 (UTC)