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Discuss the arguments for and against a codified constitution

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Discuss the arguments for and against a codified constitution A constitution is a set of rules that seek to establish the duties, powers and functions of the various institutions of government, regulate the relationships between them, and define the relationship between the state and the individual. The most common way of classifying constitutions is to distinguish between codified and uncodified. The UK has an uncodified constitution. A written constitution is precisely a charter that has been codified, in that the rules and regulations that citizens / individuals must abide by are stated in a single document format. Although elements of the UK constitution are written e.g. the statute law, sections of it are not. It must be noted that America follow a written constitution called the 'Bill of Rights', and by contrast the UK at present do not adhere to a formal written constitution. Therefore, one must consider the arguments for and against a codified constitution to establish a judgement on whether the introduction of a codified constitution in the UK is a beneficial concept to acquire. There are many arguments for adopting a codified constitution in the UK, and there are many pressure groups, political figures and ordinary people who believe that the UK should have one. ...read more.


An inflexible, rigid written constitution would evolve more power into the people and the courts and disperse the sovereign powers of the decision-making of the Executive. This would be especially beneficial with Europe in mind, in that the UK is the only member of the EU without a codified constitution, and a written constitution may increase the UK's sovereignty within Europe. A written constitution would allow the British people to appeal to the courts with a written document to back up their claims with a codified document as a point of reference. An entrenched codified constitution would also be an advantage to the British Judicial system, as laws would be clearly defined so judges would be able to recognise when laws are broken, and make fairer decisions. A written document would not only modernise British law, but would also follow the majority of the countries in the world, who have working proof that written constitutions are beneficial and successful. Despite the large number of arguments for a codified constitution to be incorporated into the UK, there are also many arguments against an entrenched document. Our present constitution may contain many sources, but there is no denying that our constitution does work and the UK has a successful judicial system and a democratic Parliament, even though it may run in a different way than a country with a written constitution such as the USA. ...read more.


The final disadvantage of introducing a codified constitution into Britain is that the supposed inflexible and rigid nature of written constitutions of other countries is often open to amendments when laws are out dated. Unless our constitution declared that the constitution could not be amended, there is danger that laws may need to be changed and it would not be possible. If we adopted a written constitution and amended it whenever necessary, there would hardly be any difference to the present constitutional system. An uncodified constitution on the other hand is flexible and the UK does not need a complicated procedure to change it unlike the USA which has a codified constitution. Parliament can change our constitution when the electorate votes for change. Overall, there are valid reasons for and against written constitutions, in that a written constitution would bring many economical, social and political benefits, and be a worthwhile move for the future of the UK, and will protect against arbitrary government. However by contrast there are also a great number of arguments against a codified constitution, which would pose the country a lot of problems if Parliament decided to introduce one. A valid point is that there may not be many negative consequences of introducing a codified constitution, but as the present one works efficiently, I think there is simply no necessity for one. ...read more.

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