• 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of the country at present does not coincide with the laws that were made hundreds of years ago, as they are simply out of date and not applicable to today's society.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. Marked by a teacher

    The Constitution of United Kingdom In Comparison with the Constitution of Russia

    4 star(s)

    developed under very different historical and ideological influence to the constitutional legal system of the United Kingdom. The main difference is that the United Kingdom has an unwritten constitutional law whereas the state of Russia have a written constitutional law.

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

    Secondly, there will be a direct correlation between the number of conventions codified and the amount of certainty created. However, this desire for certainty overshadows the fact that flexibility is a necessary sacrifice. By sacrificing the flexibility of conventions, they will no longer be able to operate 'in a state

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

    This helps break down the complexity of laws and ensures that any amendments or application for repeal proposed by the government can be declared unconstitutional before it becomes part of the constitution. However it is a costly and lengthy process, but in the case of a written constitution, in which

  1. Is it time to adopt a written constitution?

    due to the fact that no legislation is given any special status whether it be deemed to be constitutional or not. Notice that this is quite unproblematic in the United States with a written or codified constitution, a sovereign text.

  2. Free essay

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

    Moreover Parliamentary Sovereignty also allows Parliament to be above the courts and can overrule the common law, by passing legislation5. This has the positive effect of government being able to legislate on proposals it sets out with ease, making for a quick transition to turn the country into the state it promised.

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

    A leading case on civil liberties was later the basis of 4th amendment of the US constitution. In Entick v Carrington 1765 Lord Camden ruled against the Home Secretary who had issued a warrant for the entry into private property and seizure of seditious materials was illegal, on the basis that it was trespass to property.

  2. What is the argument for and against a written constitution for the UK? ...

    If Parliament in the very unlikely event still does something, which the electorate does not favour, the subjects may vote for another government or simply resort to force, take back the power to the people and impose a new legitimate government. From this doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty several problems appear.

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