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Should the United Kingdom Introduce a Written Constitution - Essay Example

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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…
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Should the United Kingdom Introduce a Written Constitution
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Should the United Kingdom Introduce a Written Constitution

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 ... Read More
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