How effective is the British Constitution in protecting the rights of its citizens?

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How effective is the British Constitution in protecting the rights of its citizens?

The British Constitution is uncodified. Our constitution is unlike any other in the world due to this one fact. Since it is uncodified amendments to it are made easily and without too many problems occurring. This is a contrast to the American constitution that is written and therefore has to be manually changed in order that a law may pass. In the American constitution’s history more than 2000 amendments have been suggested; only eighteen of them have actually occurred. This kind of constitution leaves little room for flexibility and makes the introduction of laws much more difficult. Though some would argue that since it is written down all of the public can access it at any time, as opposed to the British constitutions limit to constitutional experts who know how to interpret it.

Many will say that the British constitution does not exist, but it does in the form of statutes, court judgements, European treaties, and tradition and custom.  The British constitution may not exist in a fully written out form but it takes its form through conventions, for example; parliament’s maximum of a five year term is not a written rule but rather a tradition of parliament.

Any amendment made to the British constitution is made in the same way; a new law must pass with a majority of supporters in both Houses followed by a Royal Assent.  The constitution comes from a number of different sources which include; statutes such as the Magna Carta, law and customs of parliament, constitutional matters decided in a court of law and constitutional experts who have written on the subject such as Walter Bagehot.

Parliament has a close hold over the British Constitution. As discussed earlier it is uncodified and can therefore be amended by each party who holds a parliamentary term. Any amendment must first go through both houses of parliament before a Royal Assent finalises it and makes it into an Act. The flexibility of the British Constitution means that it can be changed according to each party’s principals or ideals. This is convenient since it means that the different principles that political parties have can be made into laws quickly and with little objection (especially if they have a large majority). However, the same thing that makes the constitution effective can also be described as its downfall. Its flexibility means that any political party that takes power can amend it to suit them as long as they receive a majority. In the most extreme case they can make voting illegal meaning that their party is forever in power.  This is very unlikely to happen since it is likely to cause a civil war.

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The right to vote is the expectation of any un-imprisoned person above the age of eighteen who lives in the UK, is a member of a commonwealth country, or lives in the republic of Ireland.  The purpose of the voting system is to give the political party who wins the majority of the votes a sense of legitimacy. Without this legitimacy it is not in their power to amend or create laws as they do not have the authority to do so. However, a number of the public and members of some specific political parties believe that the current voting ...

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3 Stars - A very thorough and well written essay. Good subject knowledge is demonstrated across a wide range of points pertinent to the British constitution - where this essay is weak is that these points are not marshalled directly to answer the set question - in fact the question is not referred to and it's key words and commands not integrated into the text. In that respect it is weak, because it veers towards narrative about the key features of the constitution rather than an analysis of how the constitution protects the rights of citizens.