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The advantages of a codified constitution now outweigh the disadvantages. Discuss [40 marks]

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Introduction

´╗┐The advantages of a codified constitution now outweigh the disadvantages. Discuss [40 marks] A codified constitution is a constitution made up of a set of laws that an individual or set of people have made and agreed upon for governmental use and is most importantly documented in a single place. In theory, the documentation of a codified constitution appears to make minimal difference to the executive and judiciary system, however, in common practice the advantages of a codified constitution in present day UK in regards to the executive, judiciary and society as a whole do not outweigh the disadvantages. This is due the fact that many of the issues which point toward the advantages of a codified constitution, such as modernization, rights and adaptability also reveal distinct social and political disadvantages to the incorporation of a codified constitution; ultimately the use of other tenuous links fail to alter the fact that the advantages of a codified constitution do not outweigh the disadvantages at the present moment in time. The choice facing the country is therefore whether to adopt the sort of explicit, formal supreme law typified by documents such as the United States Constitution. The alternative is to retain the status quo of its constitution consisting of a variety of informal codes and conventions, many of them unwritten, which guide the political and legal culture of the country. ...read more.

Middle

A larger role for the judiciary would empower these unelected officials to "legislate from the bench" by interpreting laws according to their political views and striking down legislation they oppose. For instance, the constitutionally-empowered judiciary of the United States often even goes so far as to dictate the details of social policy. A constitution would not get rid of unappealable power, but rather transfer that power to a body far less accountable than Parliament. The power the judges now have could lead to judicial tyranny. Judges should not be able to police the constitution because they are unelected [by the electorate] and are not socially representative. This means that there is a lack of democratic legitimacy and certain groups in society (e.g. ethnic minorities) may not get their opinions realised. The lack of democratic legitimacy amongst judges would lead to a democratic deficit because it acts on a limiting factor on governmental power. Another disadvantage to constitutional reform, particularly relating to Britain is the issue of who would write the constitution should we decide it to be written. With the possibility of having a written constitution the issue of considering who would write it would be one of great disagreement and debate. It would cause a great degree of pressure in locating a single group, or individual of a neutral position. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the advantages of a codified constitution do not outweigh the disadvantages as a codified constitution could lead to the Judiciary holding excessive power and becoming tyrannical. Furthermore, deciding what to include, who should write it and how it should be written would cause a huge debate, therefore costing a lot of taxpayers money and a lot of MPs time. Moreover, a codified constitution leads to an obsession with the text itself. The wording of the constitution would cause a mass debate as the Party in Government at the time the constitution is codified would be able to slant it towards their political ideology. By establishing a formal document as the supreme law of the land, the state creates an incentive for all actors to interpret it in bad faith in order to suit their agendas. For example, in the United States, politicians, lobby groups, corporations, and citizens all fight over what the phrasing of the "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" means. There are however advantages to a codified constitution, such as it would provide a safeguard against an ?elective dictatorship? and it provides the separation of powers necessary to keep each part of the government in check. But, because of the huge disadvantages, I conclude that the advantages of a codified constitution do not outweigh the disadvantages. ...read more.

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