What is a Unicameral Legislature? Merits and Disadvantages


A legislature that consists of one chamber, house or assembly is politically known as a unicameral legislature. Legislation that is made or a bill that is read,. deliberated upon, and passed by the assembly is the final. It doesn’t go to any other house.

The unicameral system is the most popular at the state or sub-national legislatures even when they have a bicameral at the federal level or at the center.

Countries with unicameral legislature include Ghana, Lithuania, El Salvador, New Zealand etc.


The argument in support of Unicameral legislature

Unicameralism has several advantages that make it preferable in many countries around the world. Its simplicity and cost-effectiveness made it more popular in more countries than the bicameral.

Here are the 10 advantages of the unicameral legislature:

1) It is more efficient in the process of legislation. 

2) The process of lawmaking is simple under one chamber than in two legislative houses

3) The possibility of deadlock is minimized in a unicameral legislature rather than bicameralism.

4) It is easy to maintain, unlike bicameralism which is considered expensive. One chamber is economical to manage.

5) There are a few institutions to maintain and support financially.

6) Unicameralism makes the passage of bills faster than the repetitive process in the bicameral system.

7) It prevents duplication of responsibilities.

8) Unicameral legislature makes it easier for the government to be more accountable to the people, according to a former member of U.S Congress (both in the House of Representatives and U.S House of Senate) Senator George Norris.

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9) It encourages accountability on the part of lawmakers because their position is a matter of public record and interest.

10) Law making process is less cumbersome.

11) In times of emergency, a single-house legislature is more suitable.

Popularity for Unicameralism 

Countries that operate bicameralism are now debating on the merits of Unicameralism over the bicameral system. No wonder countries like New Zealand and Denmark moved from bicameralism to unicameralism.

In Sweden, two houses were merged into a single one. In Nigeria, there are debates about the cost of maintaining their lawmakers in both houses. Some propose that The Upper House (The Senate) should be abolished since most of its members are either former governors or old men.

Argument against Unicameralism

As a cost-effective unicameral system is, it has its disadvantages which include:

1) It may lead to haphazard passage of bills without thorough scrutiny.

2) The government may use a single chamber to force objectionable laws on the citizens.


  • InfomediaNG

    The Infomediang Team comprises a group of researchers, data analysts, and financial experts who closely follow government policies and spending. Our passion lies in empowering people to make informed decisions about their investments by simplifying data for easy understanding. Find us @infomedia_ng on X.

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