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The British Constitution - Essay Example

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It is also mostly embedded in the written form through various statutes, judgments and treaties apart from the conventional principles. In countries like the USA whose democratic origin has been very recent, writing constitution for a new country after their independence from British rule was a necessity. But, parliamentary democracy in Britain has a very long history and the Parliament of UK is one of the oldest democratic institutions in the world. After the merger of the Parliament of Scotland in 1707 and Ireland in 1801 with the English Parliament, it has been known as the Parliament of the United Kingdom.  The country has an established judiciary system with a long history and the system has been evolving over the period of time mainly based on precedents in the legal landscape.  Parliamentary sovereignty is the fundamental principle of the un-codified British Constitution. There were controversies at the time of UK’s accession to European community based on the concerns that law-making functions could eventually be transferred to the EC Commission and the Council of Ministers. After the accession of the UK to European Economic Community, European common law has gained preeminence in the UK which is inevitable. In Thoburn v Sunderland City Council [2002] it was observed “All the specific rights and obligations which EU law creates are by the ECA incorporated into our domestic law and rank supreme: that is, anything in our substantive law inconsistent with any of these rights and obligations....
In Thoburn v Sunderland City Council [2002] it was observed “All the specific rights and obligations which EU law creates are by the ECA incorporated into our domestic law and rank supreme: that is, anything in our substantive law inconsistent with any of these rights and obligations is abrogated or must be modified to avoid the inconsistency”.  (Baili, 2002) But, it is important that the EU law for this purpose should originate from and authorized by the Parliament. It was asserted in the case that there is nothing in the ECA which allows the Court of Justice, or any other institutions of the EU, to touch or qualify the conditions of Parliament's legislative supremacy in the United Kingdom. In the Thoburn case there was criminal conviction of Steven Thoburn, a green grocer and other defendants for various offences inter alia calibration of weighing machines and the use of unapproved instruments or measures. In such cases which deal with constitutional issues, political and legislative implications are also involved. Drewry, G. (2007, p.112) states “the political and parliamentary implications are every bit as important as the legal ones. Both (one of which is Thoburn’s) cases, in their different ways, were concerned with important areas of national and European public policy, and with legislation that is a product of political processes’. The written constitutions in such cases are likely to pose adaptation problems as the issue covers various aspects of international importance and cross border activities. The establishment of European Court of Justice and its growing significance in the legal system of the United Kingdom and the supremacy of EC law in the event of conflicts with the UK laws have caused a great deal of discussions and ...Show more


This research paper “The British Constitution” seeks to discuss the statement ‘Britain's constitution has by and large been a success’ made by Barber N.W (2008) to uphold the view that the position does not provide an argument for us to adopt one.  …
The British Constitution
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