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Britain Unwritten Constitution - Essay Example

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Britain Unwritten Constitution

Kingdom is consequently a nation under Parliamentary sovereignty because the entire sovereignty belongs to the Parliament. There is no entrenchment in the British constitution – meaning that there is no need of a supermajority or a referendum to pass some amendments – which can cause some minorities to suffer from majoritarianism. This absence of a central written constitution may lead to believe that the United Kingdom has no formal constitution. It is true the British Constitution is often referred to as unwritten but it relies and incorporates many written sources such as the Magna Carta, the Habeas Corpus Act in 1679, the Bill of Rights in 1689, the Act of Settlement in 1701, the Act of Union in 1707, joining England and Scotland to form Great Britain, the Act of Union in 1800, joining Great Britain and Ireland to form United Kingdom, the Statute of Westminster in 1931, the Peerage Act in 1963, the European communities Act in 1972, being the key documents and conventions among many others. Therefore, the United Kingdom constitution is seen as a collection of Acts of Parliament, decrees, conventions, traditions and royal prerogatives. However even if some accept it as an unwritten constitution, some go as far as saying that in the absence of a written constitution, Britain has no constitution....
Throughout the world we can see two types of constitutions: the codified and the uncodified ones. In a codified constitution, the articles describe a higher form of law, that is to say laws to which all other laws must conform and in consequence elected assemblies can not pass all the laws they wish. The codified constitutions are usually entrenched which means that they can only be changed or amended according to special procedures. In the political systems of codified constitutions, judges have the key role to interpret and apply the constitution, they have the power, for example, to decide that some rules which were passed by elected assemblies are unconstitutional - not in following the principles set of rules of the constitution. The codified constitution is also a tool to understand the powers of the different institutions that characterize a government and the relationship between them. Finally, they represent timeless principles. A Bill of Rights for instance, defines the liberty to practice one religion, the right to a fair trial or the freedom of speech. 5

However, United Kingdom does not have such a codified document, its unwritten constitution and therefore the fundamental rules are embodied in major statutes, precedents and legal decisions. It is consequently said that codified constitutions are more rigid than uncodified ones. Flexible constitutions are more reactive and adapt more rapidly to changing conditions. It is the usual characteristic of an uncodified constitution. However, United Kingdom's example is not as clear as this principle. The adaptation to the changing conditions is not easily seen in the United Kingdom. Even though ...Show more

Summary

The Constitution of the United Kingdom is an example of an uncodified constitution. It consists of written and unwritten sources and has no single written fundamental document. In other words, it means that there is no technical difference between ordinary statutes and laws considered as constitutional laws…
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Britain Unwritten Constitution essay example
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