Should the United Kingdom introduce a written constitution? Introduction Society is governed by a set of beliefs, norms, customs and traditions that ripened into standards or rules dictating how society should function, act and interact thus the birth of sovereign or governmental power to execute the standards or rules and to demand compliance from its subjects or citizens for an orderly and peaceful existence…
To better understand whether a sovereign is governed by a written constitution or not, it is imperative to state at the outset what a constitution means. A constitution is a compendium or anthology of a sovereign’s history, principles and ideals which is considered the most fundamental law of the land. In the hierarchy of laws, the constitution is considered the supreme law of the land and all laws, rules and regulations enacted must conform. This edict is known as the doctrine of constitutionalism.2 The constitution shall set the path of the policies and laws which a sovereign shall embark and enforce. The constitution is similarly touted as a binding agreement between the government and its people; apart from this, it is a social contract3 that is expected to be followed by citizens residing within the country in exchange of the protection provided by the state or sovereign. In carving or creating a written constitution however it must be fashioned to contain basic characteristics and these are-- first, to limit and delineate the power of the government so that it cannot do whatever it like; secondly, to protect the rights and liberties of the individual not just from the government but also from other powerful groups; and third is legitimacy.4 It is reiterated that the governmental functions, rights and liberties of individuals infused in the constitution are patterned after the country's traditions and culture. A constitution may come in two forms --the written and unwritten constitution. When these set of laws are put in writing and bound in a single document it is then called a written constitution, otherwise it is referred to as an unwritten constitution. Presently, most countries have formulated and are functioning and enforcing their laws through a written constitution. In the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (United Kingdom) however is far removed from these modern day countries since they do not have a written constitution as yet. Aside from these two countries, there are only a handful of countries that remain without a written constitution, namely--New Zealand, Israel and San Marino. Countries that function without a written constitution are similarly referred to as countries with an uncodified constitution as the sources of laws, governmental and individual rights are not contained in one fundamental instrument but rather embodied in a series of documents. The judicial branch makes use Acts of Parliament, Treaties, European Union Law, Common Law, Conventions and Works of Authority as their reference in deciding a case. Royal prerogatives and Parliamentary constitutional conventions are equally used as their sources of law.5 From the given characteristics of a constitution the question still remains: Is there a need for the United Kingdom to introduce a written constitution? This paper aims to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of introducing a written constitution in the United Kingdom and to arrive at an educated opinion whether it would be best for the United Kingdom to create its own constitution. The position of the researcher is for the United Ki ...
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The author states that the important feature of the British constitution is that it has no written constitution, which lends flexibility and discretion to the judiciary in taking decisions. Parliamentary sovereignty is the main feature of British constitution. Though the constitution is unwritten in one single document, it is not entirely unwritten.
Through Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (CRA 2005) the role of Lord Chancellor was modified to give more strength and independence to the Judiciary. The separation of the senior judges from the House of Lords was made to introduce a clear-cut separation of the judiciary from the parliament.
Moreover, the advancement and a proper informing of the UK citizens about the democratic processes would change the accents of the governmental institutions operations at different levels. The introduction of HRA, different innovations in the constitutional processes of the UK signify a clear advancement of the county’s proper organization and performance.
Attorney General 5 The Rule of Law 6 Significance of Rule of Law for Upholding Democracy in the UK 7 The Judiciary and Statutory Interpretation 7 Significance of Statutory Interpretation 8 Significance of Judiciary Interpretation 8 Central Government and Ministerial Responsibility 9 Conclusion 10 References 12 Bibliography 17 Introduction The constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom primarily underpin the functionalities of the nation.
According to Viscount Henry St John Bolingbroke (1748) separation of powers is necessary for the protection of individual freedoms, and thus for the security of persons. Its most popular proponent, Montesquieu adds that separation of power ensures liberty in the three arms of government.
Such is, for instance, the Constitution of the Indian Republic. Almost all modern States have written constitutions, the only exception being the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where the fundamental political principles and institutions are not to be found in any formally accepted document or documents.
While the United Kingdom does not have a formal written and codified Constitution, there is an unwritten set of rules comprised of the Acts of Parliament, judicial decisions as well as political practices that form the basis of
Almost all modern States have written constitutions, the only exception being the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where the fundamental political principles and institutions are not to be found in any formally accepted document or documents.