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Should the UKs constitution remain uncodified?

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´╗┐Should the UK?s constitution remain uncodified? A constitution is a set of rules that seek to establish duties, powers and function of the various institutions and also seek to regulate the relationship between the state and the citizen. There are many different types of constitution; Codified or uncodified, unitary or federal and can be seen as either rigid or flexible. The U.K is an example of an uncodified constitution, whereas the U.S.A is an example of a codified constitution. Although there is a very strong two-sided argument with considerable benefits, I believe that adopting a codified constitution would not be very practical, hard to implement and too rigid in terms of making amendments. A codified constitution is a constitution ?in which key constitutional provisions are collected together within a single legal document.? (Heywood) This is commonly referred to as a written constitution. A codified constitution has three key features. It is an authoritative document due to the fact it constitutes ?higher law? resulting in the constitution binding all political institutions. As a codified constitution sets out functions and power of government institution in terms of ?higher law?, it is therefore judiciable. ...read more.


Not only this, it would also provide an educative benefit, as it would highlight both the central values and the overall goals of the political system. A second argument supporting codification is that it would cut the government down to size and limit their increasing power. A codified constitution would effectively end the principle of parliamentary sovereignty and it would provide a counter-balance to the power of the executive. At present, through the royal prerogative the PM wields an enormous power, such as the power to declare war, and adopting a codified constitution would provide a safeguard to protect the constitution from interference by the government by the day. The strongest argument in favour of a codified constitution is that it would protect our rights. Individual liberty would be more securely protected by a codified constitution and it would define a clearer relationship between the state and the citizens. Rights would therefore be more transparent, and they would be easier to enforce. An uncodified constitution also increases the chance of elective dictatorship, which further restricts rights. Despite steps in the right directions a result of the introduction of the European Convention on Human Rights, through the Human Rights Act of ...read more.


Moreover, the major parties disagree about the current nature and content of the constitution and to employ a codified constitution they would need to agree on both the principle of codification and the detailed provisions of the constitutions itself. At the moment, this is clearly an unachievable and near impossible situation. Codified constitutions are seen as rigid. Higher law is more difficult to amend than statute law and uncodified constitutions are flexible, as they are not entrenched like codified constitutions. Due to the rigidity of a codified constitution, the constitution could easily become outdated and fail to respond to an ever-changing political environment. Flexibility is a very important ability as it allows the constitution to remain relevant and up-to-date, and the impermeability of a codified constitution is a major downside. Another argument against adopting a ?written? constitution is the threat of judicial tyranny and democratic rule. The U.K?s long period of unbroken democratic rule is often seen as a strength of the uncodified constitutional system. Under a codified system judges would be the people policing the constitution. They are clearly not the best to be people to be doing this, as they are socially unrepresentative and have not been voted in, resulting in a clear democratic deficit. ...read more.

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