Should the UK have a codified constitution?

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Lucy Barlow

Should the UK have a codified constitution?

I believe that the UK should stay with the current system of an uncodified constitution, unlike most other countries in the EU, because although we aren’t on a par with western politics constitutions the system which we have doesn’t need to be changed as it works well for us. I believe that it wouldn’t be an important advancement for the country to have our constitution codified as there are much more important issues which need tackling before we can even consider codifying the constitution. Although there are benefits both for and against having a codified constitution in the UK, I firmly think that the unwritten constitution is still helpful in being able to distinguish our laws. Even though some may argue against it, I think that the system has worked for this long so why do we need to change it now when we have no real problems with it?

The current uncodified constitution has been criticised for its ambiguity and uncertainty. As the constitution has not been written down it becomes difficult to know what it actually says and how each element should be interpreted. There is no clear conception of the laws set in place for governing the UK, which also extends to the constraints of the government themselves, power distribution and the rights of the individual. This means that there is weak protection for the rights of the individual as their rights and freedoms are not specified clearly. However, some argue that the flexibility of the uncodified nature of the constitution is a benefit because it is easy for us to change. The main advantage of the constitution as it stands is that it remains current as it can be interpreted in many different ways and it can also adapt and respond to changing circumstances. This makes it, in some ways, a much better system as we can adapt to the changes of a modern day society.

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I feel as though the fact that the constitution can be so widely misinterpreted is a downfall as what one person may judge to be legal, another could rule it differently. A codified constitution would be much better in cases where the constitution needs to be referenced, for example when making laws it would be much simpler to know what you were basing your judgement on.  However, I think that the uncodified constitution and its flexibility does benefit the changes we see today in modern politics as it can be interpreted in many ways, making it still very relevant.

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