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Written and Unwritten Constitution - Essay Example

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All publicists distinguish between written and unwritten constitutions, although the distinction is somewhat superficial. A State is deemed to have a written constitution when the basic principles and institutions of its political organization are to be found in a document or a series of documents. …
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Written and Unwritten Constitution
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Written and Unwritten Constitution

This distinction between written and unwritten constitutions has led to the establishment of a far more important classification of written and unwritten constitutions. The idea of permanency is closely associated with the concept of constitution so much so that stability is considered to be one of its main attributes. Written constitutions are considered to be more permanent and, therefore, more written, because, generally speaking, they cannot be amended except by a special process or by means of special machinery. Unwritten constitutions, on the other hand, are deemed to be unwritten because they can be amended or altered by the ordinary process of legislation. It should, however, be noted that the distinction between written and unwritten constitutions does not necessarily depend on the distinction between written and unwritten constitutions. A written constitution may be as unwritten as an unwritten constitution. A typical instance is furnished by the Italian Constitution of 1848 which, according to the generally accepted view, could be amended by the ordinary process of legislation. (Smith, 2001, 80)
The distinction between written and unwritten constitutions was pointed out for the first time by Bryce, and has now become a fundamental concept of constitutional law and practice. ... Read More
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