"While an unwritten constitution has the merit of flexibility, this flexibility is purchased at the expense of individual rights." - Discuss

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“While an unwritten constitution has the merit of flexibility, this flexibility is purchased at the expense of individual rights.”

The United Kingdom has acquired for itself an unwritten constitution. The body of rules relating to the structure, functions and powers of the organ of state, their relationship to one another and to private citizens is to be derived from common law, statutes and constitutional conventions. It is therefore learnt that the English constitution does not impose limits on what may be done by ordinary legislation in the way that many other constitutions do. The constitution adapts for itself a flexible system of governing.

The legislative competence of the Uk Parliament is unlimited and therefore the law states that no Parliament can bind its successors or be bound by its predecessors. It also states that the courts cannot question the validity of an Act of Parliament. Therefore, no formal mechanism exists ensuring that the rights of the minorities and individual citizens are not infringed by Parliament.

In 1976, Lord Hailsham put forward the view that the current constitutional arrangements amounted to an elective “dictatorship” for which the only remedy was a written constitution, where there was a clear separation of powers. Lord Hailsham felt that although absolute power was conferred on Parliament, those powers were concentrated in an executive government formed out of one party which due to the electoral system, did not fairly represent the popular will. A written constitution might allow for more parliamentary check theoretically because it would allow the judiciary to act as a more effective check on Parliament through the ability to strike down legislation as unconstitutional.

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At present, the judiciary will refuse to invalidate legislation which has been enacted by Parliament as seen in the case Pickin v British Railways Board (1974).At present,there is no Bill of Rights in the UK constitution. In particular, if a Bill of Rights was entrenched within the constitution, basic civil rights might be more surely guaranteed to UK citizens. Adoption of a written constitution might also address other problems identified by Lord HailSham, including over centralization and unfairness in the electoral system.

The government in power has a large majority at present and the problem of Parliamentary Sovereignty ...

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