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Assess whether or not the United Kingdom should adopt a codified constitution?

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Josh Cotton HRS Assess whether or not the United Kingdom should adopt a codified constitution? A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. There are many types of constitution. Constitutions can be codified, un-codified, Unitary and Federal and they can be seen as rigid or flexible. The most common way of classifying constitutions is codified or un-codified (written and unwritten). The United Kingdom is a good example of an un-codified constitution and the United States of America is an example of a codified constitution. A codified or unwritten constitution is a constitution in which the key rules and regulations are collected within one single legal document. The terms of the constitution are said to be ?entrenched? meaning that the rules or provisions of the outlined within the constitution are hard to amend or abolish. This is why people often refer to codified constitutions as being rigid. On the other hand there are codified constitutions (which is what the United Kingdom currently has). Un-codified or unwritten constitutions do not have all of their rules and regulations composed in one single document. ...read more.


An example of elective dictatorship would be the fact that Margret Thatcher was only defeated four times in eleven years. It would also not be possible for the government to interfere and change the constitution due to the existence of higher law, which basically safeguards the constitution. This is because high court judges ensuring provisions of the constitution are properly upheld would police the constitution. For example Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances Each branch of the government work in unison to make sure that other branches do not abuse their power. My final point supporting the United Kingdom adopting a codified constitution is that codified constitutions would protect the rights of the public. Civil liberties would be securely protected by a codified constitution because it would clearly define the relationship between the citizens and the state. As a result of this, these rights will be clearly defined and will be easier to enforce than in the current British un-codified constitution. An un-codified constitution can also result in a elective dictatorship which would further restrict these rights. Along with a codified constitution comes a bill of rights that clearly defines and specifies the rights and freedoms of the individual, in turn this legally defines the extent of ones civil liberties. ...read more.


This is because a codified constitution would act as higher law. Therefore, a codified constitution would undermine parliamentary sovereignty, which is one of the key principles in the United Kingdom?s representative democracy. Personally I think that the United Kingdom should not adopt a codified constitution. This is for many reasons that I have outlined in my essay. These reasons include the inflexibility of a codified constitution, judicial tyranny and the undermining and eventual abolishment of parliamentary sovereignty. In my opinion, the most important reason is the inflexibility of a codified constitution. By Nature, codified constitutions are entrenched and higher law rules over statute law. In the United Kingdom, if any of our laws need to be changed then statute law can be changed easily via an act of parliament. Whereas with a codified constitution it is much harder to change and amend laws and therefore the constitution can rapidly become outdated in today?s ever changing society. Overall, both arguments are strong in their own right, but at the end of the day is better to have a flexible way of changing laws that a rigid and entrenched system. Therefore I believe that the United Kingdom should not adopt a codified constitution. ...read more.

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