• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"While an unwritten constitution has the merit of flexibility, this flexibility is purchased at the expense of individual rights." - Discuss

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Question: "While an unwritten constitution has the merit of flexibility, this flexibility is purchased at the expense of individual rights." The United Kingdom has acquired for itself an unwritten constitution. The body of rules relating to the structure, functions and powers of the organ of state, their relationship to one another and to private citizens is to be derived from common law, statutes and constitutional conventions. It is therefore learnt that the English constitution does not impose limits on what may be done by ordinary legislation in the way that many other constitutions do. The constitution adapts for itself a flexible system of governing. The legislative competence of the Uk Parliament is unlimited and therefore the law states that no Parliament can bind its successors or be bound by its predecessors. It also states that the courts cannot question the validity of an Act of Parliament. Therefore, no formal mechanism exists ensuring that the rights of the minorities and individual citizens are not infringed by Parliament. ...read more.

Middle

The Labour government of the UK constitution promised a "Freedom of Information Act" which will lay out the scheme "Your Right to Know" on white paper thus representing a strong assult upon official secrecy allowing more rights to be extended to individuals. It could also be pointed out that the freedom of the media is in any event hampered by the laws of the libel, contempt, official secrets and particularly by the action for breach of confidence as seen in the case Attorney General v Newspaper Publishing plc (1987). The use of an interim injunction to preserve confidentiality combined with the extension of the law of contempt represented the most worry curb on the media's freedom. Traditionally,the operation of a free and diverse press has offered a further check to government power but without a Freedom of Information Act, the press is dependant on a system of official and unofficial "leaks". There is a "danger" that certain organs of the press will merely peddle up in different form to suit the different markets. ...read more.

Conclusion

This problem has however been addressed through the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998. Litigants will now be able to assert their convention rights against any public authority in any and every UK courts and tribunals. The HRA will make it unlawful for a public authority to do ant act which is incompatible with the convention rights, unless legislation unambiguously mandates or authorizes such actions. (Section6). All Legislation will have to be read so far as possible to compatible with the convention rights. There is no doubt that this act will therefore represent a very real and substantial limitation upon Executive (Parliamentary) action. In conclusion, while it may be argued that many of the traditional means of curbing government power and parliamentary sovereignty may seem ineffective in a flexible form of constitution like the UK, the Human Rights Act and the EC Act will likely constitute a new and powerful guarantee against an oppressive form of government where flexibility is "purchased" at the expense of individual rights. The objects to the un-entrenched British Constitution will however be practically evident only with a new constitution. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sources of Law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sources of Law essays

  1. Discuss whether incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into the domestic legislation ...

    and 3(1) of the 1972 Act. This argument was false because it failed to take account of the 'constitutional place in our law of the rule that Parliament cannot bind its successors'"16 So does the ECHR via the HRA actually undermine our sovereignty?

  2. Should Britain have a codified constitution?

    For example you would have to have a two thirds majority in both houses or it would have to be passed by referendum. However I believe that this point does not have a sufficient amount of reason to be fully taken into consideration, in comparison one of the benefits of the current system is its flexibility.

  1. "In form, the Human Rights Act (HRA) is compatible with parliamentary sovereignty. In practice, ...

    The HRA has been viewed as successful in achieving the proposed balance because it neither entrenches Convention rights nor grants political freedom to Parliament to compromise them by later statutory amendment. Lord Irvine (2003) asserted that Parliament has two principal interests in the HRA - to maintain Parliamentary sovereignty by defending its right to legislate, and to defend its legislation.

  2. Can the Islamic approach to Human Rights be compatible withthe current International Human Rights ...

    Nevertheless, there is such an increased trend in violation of the women lives, even though few of them are not specifically subject to the women or just appeared as an abusing to community or men. Bunch, indicated this fact by provoking as follows: "Significant numbers of the world's population are

  1. How has the European Court of Human Rights contributed to the protection of children's ...

    1917 - state obligation to protect child from all forms of ill-treatment18 - and UN Committee observations is in Kilkelly's view evident of Court's dynamic approach19. Indeed, not only did the Court in Tyrer v. UK20, holding judicial punishment to be incompatible with Art.

  2. HUMAN RIGHTS

    Due to a number of International human rights instruments, there have been many proposed list of cultural rights, but there is not one codified list agreed upon. By incorporating all the proposed cultural rights by the instruments discussed above, the list would consist of the right to cultural identity15, participation

  1. Are the Human Rights Act 1998 and the doctrine of Parliamentary supremacy compatible?

    The Council of Europe developed the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in 1950, of which the UK was one of the first signatories, but, despite supporting the Convention, the UK did not incorporate its principles into UK law.

  2. Should people have a right to privacy?

    But I don't think I used parliamentary privilege in the sense that I needed to have it. The story had been printed in Scotland at the weekend; it had been all over Twitter and was on Wikipedia. It was in the public domain.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work