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Difference between unicameral and bicameral legislatures

Difference between unicameral and bicameral legislatures

The legislator is a government body that has the power to enact laws and oversee the administration of the government. There are two types of legislatures prevalent in the world, namely unicameral and bicameral. The single legislature is the system of government in which a single central unit has the right over the whole ground to make laws and decide government policies.

On the contrary, a bicameral legislature is one in which there are two chambers of the Parliament, namely the upper chamber representing the states, and the other the lower chamber representing the people of the country. In this type of legislature, the powers are shared by the two houses. Let's take a look at this article to understand the difference between unicameral and bicameral legislatures.

Comparative graph

Basis for comparison Single-chamber thickness Two-chambered legislation
Sense The form of government which consists of a single house or legislative assembly, called the unicameral legislature. The country's legislative system, which includes two-tier assemblies, known as the bicameral legislature.
powers concentrated shared
Government system unitary federal
Policy decision Quick decision-making process It consumes time
deadlock Rare Common
Useful to Small countries Big countries

Definition of Unicameral Legislature

When in a parliamentary system there is only one house to carry out all the activities of the legislator, that is to say to legislate, to pass a budget, to deal with the administration, to discuss on matters concerning development plans, international relations, national plans, etc., then this form called as a unicameral legislator or Unicameralism.

Members in the event of a unicameral legislature are elected directly by the people and therefore represent all persons. Moreover, due to its simplicity, there is less chance of a deadlock situation.

Some of the countries where unicameral legislation is practiced are New Zealand, Iran, Norway, Sweden, China, Hungary, etc.

Definition of Bicameral Legislation

The bicameral legislature, or bicameralism, refers to the legislative body of a country that includes two separate houses, namely the upper house and the lower house that shares the powers. Its main objective is to ensure fair and just representation of all sectors or groups of society in Parliament.

The bicameral structure adopted in the United Kingdom, United States, India, Canada, Spain, Japan, Italy, etc.

The members of the lower house are elected directly by the people through general elections to represent the general public. On the other hand, the indirect method is used to elect the members of the upper house, which indicates political subdivisions. The composition of the two chambers of the Parliament differs, by number of seats, powers, voting process and so on.

Key differences Unicameral and bicameral legislature

The difference between unicameral and bicameral legislatures can be clearly formulated for the following reasons:

  1. The unicameral legislation or the unameralism is the legislative system that has only one house or assembly. Conversely, the bicameral legislator refers to the form of government, in which powers and authority are shared between two separate rooms.
  2. In a unicameral government, the powers are concentrated in a single house of Parliament. As against, in a bicameral government, the powers are shared by the upper house and the lower house.
  3. The unicameral legislature followed when a country structured on a unitary government system. On the contrary, the bicameral legislature practiced in a country where the federal system of government exists.
  4. The decision-making process on policies and on the legislative process is most efficient in the unicameral legislature, compared to the bicameral legislature. This is because, in a unicameral legislature, there is only one house so that the passage of the law consumes less time. On the contrary, in a bicameral legislature, the bill must be approved by both houses of parliament, to become an act.
  5. In a unicameral legislature the chances of a deadlock are rare. But, in the case of a bicameral legislature, the common stalemate, when the two chambers disagree, with respect to an ordinary bill. In this case, a joint session of both houses is called by the President to resolve the deadlock.
  6. The single legislature is the best for countries that are small. On the contrary, the bicameral legislature is appropriate for large countries.


The unicameral legislator prevalent in those countries where there is no need for the bicameral legislature, as well as the main advantage that the legislation is easy. A bicameral legislature adopted by many countries of the world, to give voice to all social groups and sectors. In this way, it ensures the representation of all classes of people. Furthermore, it prevents the centralization of power, but can lead to deadlocks, which makes it difficult to pass the law.