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

Should the UKs constitution remain uncodified?

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Should the UK?s constitution remain uncodified? A constitution is a set of rules that seek to establish duties, powers and function of the various institutions and also seek to regulate the relationship between the state and the citizen. There are many different types of constitution; Codified or uncodified, unitary or federal and can be seen as either rigid or flexible. The U.K is an example of an uncodified constitution, whereas the U.S.A is an example of a codified constitution. Although there is a very strong two-sided argument with considerable benefits, I believe that adopting a codified constitution would not be very practical, hard to implement and too rigid in terms of making amendments. A codified constitution is a constitution ?in which key constitutional provisions are collected together within a single legal document.? (Heywood) This is commonly referred to as a written constitution. A codified constitution has three key features. It is an authoritative document due to the fact it constitutes ?higher law? resulting in the constitution binding all political institutions. As a codified constitution sets out functions and power of government institution in terms of ?higher law?, it is therefore judiciable. ...read more.


Not only this, it would also provide an educative benefit, as it would highlight both the central values and the overall goals of the political system. A second argument supporting codification is that it would cut the government down to size and limit their increasing power. A codified constitution would effectively end the principle of parliamentary sovereignty and it would provide a counter-balance to the power of the executive. At present, through the royal prerogative the PM wields an enormous power, such as the power to declare war, and adopting a codified constitution would provide a safeguard to protect the constitution from interference by the government by the day. The strongest argument in favour of a codified constitution is that it would protect our rights. Individual liberty would be more securely protected by a codified constitution and it would define a clearer relationship between the state and the citizens. Rights would therefore be more transparent, and they would be easier to enforce. An uncodified constitution also increases the chance of elective dictatorship, which further restricts rights. Despite steps in the right directions a result of the introduction of the European Convention on Human Rights, through the Human Rights Act of ...read more.


Moreover, the major parties disagree about the current nature and content of the constitution and to employ a codified constitution they would need to agree on both the principle of codification and the detailed provisions of the constitutions itself. At the moment, this is clearly an unachievable and near impossible situation. Codified constitutions are seen as rigid. Higher law is more difficult to amend than statute law and uncodified constitutions are flexible, as they are not entrenched like codified constitutions. Due to the rigidity of a codified constitution, the constitution could easily become outdated and fail to respond to an ever-changing political environment. Flexibility is a very important ability as it allows the constitution to remain relevant and up-to-date, and the impermeability of a codified constitution is a major downside. Another argument against adopting a ?written? constitution is the threat of judicial tyranny and democratic rule. The U.K?s long period of unbroken democratic rule is often seen as a strength of the uncodified constitutional system. Under a codified system judges would be the people policing the constitution. They are clearly not the best to be people to be doing this, as they are socially unrepresentative and have not been voted in, resulting in a clear democratic deficit. ...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 United Kingdom 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 United Kingdom essays

  1. Should the UK constitution remain un-codified?

    Another issue, similar to the last is that it is almost too easy to change laws in a un-codified constitution, and thus the government can do so simply to satisfy their needs, even if unjustly so. Recent events prove that civil liberties are not well defined and tend to be

  2. Why did Afrikaners establish apartheid in 1948?

    He became known as the architect of apartheid, Malen had laid the foundations now Verwoerd could build the structure. He masterminded the second phase of apartheid. Verwoerd had previously been declared a Nazi supporter by a high court judge, so there is no doubt that he was an extreme nationalist.

  1. What, If Anything, Would Be Achieved By The United Kingdom Adopting A Codified Constitution?

    proposal in both houses and then 3/4 of the individual states must also agree to the amendment, allowing only 11 amendments have occurred since the 20th century4, depicts that amendments would not be easy to put install. Why follow a route, which has such strict requirements when today's constitution of the United Kingdom allows for easy modification?

  2. Should Britain adopt a written constitution?

    Professor Hazell stated , ?Constitutions don?t get written in cold blood?Written constitutions typically follow defeat in war, a revolution, independence or the collapse of the previous system of government?None of those fates is likely to befall the UK. So however desirable it may be, a written constitution isn?t going to happen?.

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

    Changes to the constitution therefore come about due to democratic pressure. Under a codified constitution judges would be the people policing and making decisions on constitutional changes. Judges are unelected and social representatives, which would reduce democratic legitimacy. My final argument against a codified constitution is that parliamentary sovereignty would effectively be completely abolished.

  2. Should the UK constitution remain uncodified?

    On the other hand there are many arguments that advocate against the idea of a codified constitution. Some people believe that codified constitutions are rigid. Higher law is more difficult to change that statute law. It is a lot easier to introduce an Act of Parliament than to amend a constitution.

  1. The Benefits of an Uncodified UK Constitution

    Our constitution has been uncodified for centuries without question on its ability of its ability to work well, therefore we have has no problems with this flexible constitution and should not be changed without clear conviction as to why it isn?t working.

  2. Should the Constitution of the UK remain uncodified?

    therefore could harbor strong political views that the majority of the electorate disagree with, meaning that the judiciary would become an unjust institution.

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