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

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a written constitution?

Extracts from this document...


What are the advantages and disadvantages of a written constitution? A written constitution is precisely a charter that has been codified, in that the rules and regulations that citizens must abide by are stated in a single document format. Although elements of the British constitution are written, (eg 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 Britain at present do not adhere to a formal written constitution. Hence, one must consider the advantages and disadvantages of a written constitution to establish a judgement on whether the introduction of a written constitution in Britain is a beneficial concept to acquire. There are many advantages of adopting a written constitution in Britain, and there are many pressure groups, political figures and ordinary people who believe that Britain should have one. Our unwritten constitution is old fashioned, and there is not even an agreement about what it actually contains as it is made up of various conventions, statute laws and ancient documents. Constitutions are supposed to be the fundamental social compacts by which authority and order are maintained, and so a British written constitution would not only provide a rigid means of protecting the people from the power of the executive, but prevent the power of the Government from being too centralised, which is presently a major criticism of the Government. ...read more.


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. Some people believe that even though our unwritten constitution is supposed to be traditional, the running of the country at present does not coincide with the laws that were made hundreds of years ago, as they are simply out of date and not applicable to today's society. 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 advantages for a written constitution to be incorporated into Britain, 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; Britain has a successful judicial system and a democratic Parliament, and even though it may run in a different way than a country with a written constitution such as America, is certainly isn't less prosperous and flourishing than the US. Also, even though the introduction of a written constitution is possible, it would be extremely time consuming to produce and costly, especially to the British tax payers. ...read more.


Power and sovereignty would then travel from the elected executive to the un-elected judiciary and judges would be able to make political decisions such as make laws and declare unconstitutional actions, which is undemocratic and unjust. The final disadvantage of introducing a written 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 similar to in Italy, 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. 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 Britain, and will protect against arbitrary government. However by contrast there are also a great number of arguments against a written 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 written constitution, but as the present one works efficiently, there is simply no necessity for one, in my belief. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Public 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 University Degree Public Law essays

  1. Compare and contrast written and unwritten constitutions. Which type of constitution do you favour?

    This draws attention to the fact that Britain is marked by a formal concentration of authority rather than by the Separation of Powers in contrast to the USA. In Britain the emphasis has been on the concentration of authority in the hands of the government.

  2. Is it time to adopt a written constitution?

    The text is logically prior to the legislature. It confers and distributes the legislative power. If it enshrines constitutional guarantees, the legislature will honour them. It must do so if it is to honour the constitution. The text, not the Parliament, is sovereign.13 This may be seen as a method

  1. Research Proposal - British Constitution - Whether it is possible to claim that UK ...

    One such author is Colin R. Munro, who has researched in the particular field of British constitutional law. In his book "Studies in Constitutional Law" he said that the word "constitution" can be defined in two senses: broad and narrow. As many authors have mentioned according to the narrow sense UK does not have a constitution,

  2. 'The enactment of a codified constitution would transform the British system of government.' Discuss

    enforced by the courts.32 However, most discussion of constitutional conventions has gone beyond description of conduct as merely a customary practice and concluded that conventions give rise to obligations.33 Some examples of constitutional conventions are that the government must have the majority in the Commons, or that before becoming a

  1. A written constitution in Britain?

    It would not only protect against arbitrary government but would work in unison with the Human Rights Act to protect citizen's rights. B Despite the large number of advantages for a written constitution to be incorporated into Britain, there are also many arguments against an entrenched document.

  2. Features of a constitution whether written or unwritten, and whether underlying values are better ...

    If there are discrepancies from the legislature the Supreme Court can declare the law to be unconstitutional for instance in Marbury v Madison (1803). A written constitution is also said to be rigid and some of the provisions are now outmoded (for instance the rights of slave owners), there have been only 10 amendments in 164 years.

  1. Free essay

    The unwritten nature of the British Constitution is not simply an accidental failure to ...

    changes to the constitution and whether Britain now needs to have higher order law or the system of political control we have now is one to be celebrated as power is still held by the majority. Firstly the traditional view of Parliamentary Sovereignty shall be explained.

  2. "A constitution is a document that seeks to legitimise state power,

    It is also thought to be outdated as it has historically evolved from documents such as Magna Carta. However, a constitution that is not a single document and is uncodified allows for more flexibility and this is convenient when there is need for constitutional or law changes.

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