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Explain the arguments for and against introducing a codified constitution

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Explain the arguments for and against introducing a codified constitution. Discuss. Ursula Oliver 12RJ At present, the UK's constitution is uncodified or de facto; there is no single document though the majority of Britain's constitution lies in written form of acts, court judgments and treaties. The foundation of British constitution is the doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty where acts passed by Parliament are the UK's supreme and final source of law. Therefore, simply by passing an Act, Parliament has power to change the constitution. This has caused debate over whether this uncodified constitution is seen as flexible or a liability to the UK. Some people wish to recover the constitution by introducing a codified constitution which is entrenched, whereas others such as Conservative leader David Cameron believe a British Bill of Rights alongside or instead of the Human Rights Act is best whilst maintaining an uncodified constitution. Arguments for introducing a codified constitution usually suggest that the introduction would help to correct imbalances in the current political system. This refers mainly to the second chamber and considering the constitutional status the House of Lords holds, whilst also allowing a discussion over the relation between the executive and legislature. ...read more.


With an entrenched constitution, like in the US, our rights would be more accessible. At present, where it is unwritten, it isn't known so people are reliant on the government to remain playing by unwritten rules. If we were to become more aware of our rights, we would be more likely to claim them, too. Some feel it would be safer and more democratic for a definitive on constitutional arrangements and procedures and law to be limited. Therefore, it seems there is a demand for our constitution to become codified in order to protect our rights and strengthen the constitution in case of constitutional crisis. However, it is argued that these demands for a codified constitution come from academics rather than the people, without real need. Britain has not undergone a constitutional crisis of any sort like Germany and Japan after the Second World War, and the only time there would be a need for a written document would be if Scotland became independent. At present, the people seem broadly satisfied that the nature of government is legitimate and creating a codified constitution could easily widen divisions instead of healing them. ...read more.


Taking everything into consideration, I refer back to the proposal of introducing a British Bill of Rights. This can create a common bond, a unifying force, unlike a codified constitution which would only create greater divisions. Building on the Human Rights Act, a Bill of Rights gives further effect to principles like the Magna Carta which is still relevant to modern situations where social mobility and diversity is increasing. Those concerned with the lack of knowledge over rights would be at rest as a Bill of Rights also ensures individuals are given a clearer idea of what to expect from public authorities and each other. This increases citizenship and gives room for educational improvement as well covering economic and social rights which are not recognised under the Human Rights Act. Linking peoples rights and responsibilities and highlighting the differences, a Bill of Rights ensures a flexible and adaptable constitution remains and can often be seen as "Human Rights Act plus". Therefore it does not create unnecessary debate over a codified constitution and its funding issues nor does it conceal people's rights. ...read more.

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Overall this essay shows evidence of knowledge and understanding. There are some good ideas put forward in this essay but the limited evaluation of the points made hinders the development of a good argument. It would be better to have argument followed by counter argument, rather than listing all the arguments for and then all the arguments against.


Marked by teacher Jessica Jung 07/04/2012

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