(c) Assess the arguments in favour of introducing a codified constitution for the UK. (25 marks) Draft A constitution is a statement of how the political system works and contains the limits to government power and the rights of the citizens. Britain does not have a real constitution but we do have an unwritten, uncodified constitution. There are many arguments for having a codified constitution for Britain. The first one is that our rights are not well enough protected.
A constitution is a set of rules relating to how a state is to be governed and organised. The primary function of a constitution is to provide legitimacy to those in power; however it also defines the limits of government power, protects freedom and distributes power within the political system. As such it could be said that due to the UK having an uncodified constitution there are many strengths and weaknesses, (such as?) however some of these help to make the UK constitution a better one than other countries like the USA who have to stick to their constitution. –Clear definition of constitution, list some of the strengths and weaknesses in your introduction A strength of Britain having an uncodified constitution is that its nature is flexible.
The current UK constitution has so many strengths that reform is unnecessary. Do you agree with this statement? In the UK we have an uncodified constitution, which means we have many different sources of the constitution rather than have a single authoritative document, which would be a codified constitution. The most significant source of the constitution is legislation which consists of both Acts of Parliament and lesser legislation like Orders in Council, and rules and regulation made by ministers under statutory authority. Common law, which has developed over many years becoming accepted due to court judgements.
President Woodrow Wilson wrote “the he Constitution of the United States is not a mere lawyers’ document, it is a vehicle of life and its spirit is always the spirit of the age.” One must keep this fact in mind when comparing the Constitution and the Articles of Confederation. There was a vast difference in the “spirit of the age” when these documents were drafted. Coming on the heels of the Declaration of Independence and the war against England, and afraid of a dictatorship or a government that did not listen to its people, the Articles of Confederation (which will be referred to as AoC) were written it a way that gave more power to the states. The problem with this type of government was that it was too difficult to enact or enforce laws and the government could not collect enough taxes to support itself. I believe the Constitution did a better job of protecting liberties, specifically in the areas of the federal court system, representation of the people, and the levy of taxes.
When the Labour government implemented these laws they protected traditional parliamentary sovereignty. Unlike Germany or the USA where judges can annul legislations that are found to be in breach of the human rights act. In the UK however judges can only issue a declaration of incompatibility which sends the legislation back to parliament so that they can make changes to suit the HRA. It is difficult to declare on this subject whether or not there have been enough reforms on the Human Rights Act as through one viewpoint it is important to sometimes evade Human Rights to catch potential terrorists on the other hand millions of people have had to sacrifice their right to private life as has been found with the major scandal of NSA spying on internet records. Some people may argue that if you have nothing to hide you should not fear however people still should be able to have
Some cause for concerns can be found in the first writing of the Constitution (the one that will soon be thoroughly discussed) and some lay in more recent Amendments. However, we must not forget that these voices can only be discussed out loud for all opinions to be made on it because of the foresight of those in our past that demanded such rights before approving the Constitution as the foundation of our new government. The Constitution that was written before the ratification debate was adequate in its democracy, but fell short of its goal of creating a government that incorporates all of the citizens views equally and effectively. The Constitution divides the power between the three government
Parliament in Britain is generally regarded as making laws that apply to the entire population but there is no universal agreement that it should have unlimited power to make laws of whatever kind. In many constitutions, legal limits on parliament to make laws are set out in their written constitutions but as Britain does not have such a written constitution, does it mean that there are no legal limits on parliament? The traditional doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty was first defined by Dicey in the 19th century in his book “The Law of the Constitution”. According to Dicey’s theory, parliamentary sovereignty means, “the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and further, that no person or body is recognized by the law of England as having a ride to override or set asides the legislation of parliament.” This idea of parliament being sovereign was formed at time where England was not a democratic country and it could be argued that this theory is dated and can no longer be regarded as an immutable part of UK Constitutional law. If Dicey’s theory is placed in historical context, it was produced in a very different political environment to today.
By doing this it would lead the democracy to a dictatorship. The separation of powers is another way to ensure that checks and balances are being enforced and followed through. Caplan brings the issue of the debate of the meaning of separation of powers, “…the separation of powers means that each branch has exclusive control of matters in its domain or whether the Constitution generally gives Congress and the president overlapping, or blended, powers, all of which are quite extensive but none of which obviously serves as an absolute trump to the other,” (Caplan 21-2) So the presidential power used in the issue of foreign policy has been somewhat validated by this statement
The British Constitution Briefly explain the term flexible as used in the extract Flexible means that the constitution can be amended easily and quickly as unlike a rigid constitution such as the one in the US, there is no lengthy procedure for change that has to be followed. A flexible constitution it can be altered via the law-making process, by a simple majority in the legislature as no laws are regarded as fundamental. “There is no convincing case for a written/codified constitution in Britain” Discuss To a certain extent there is no convincing case for a codified constitution in Britain. The main reason against a codified constitution in Britain is because a codified constitution would totally undermine the sovereignty of Parliament, the idea that Parliament can legislate as it chooses and that there can be no superior authority to Parliament. Moreover, no such document could be entrenched whilst Parliament retains the power to alter it at will.
INTRODUCTION – A constitution is a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or organization is governed. The purpose of a constitution is to explain how sovereign power is distributed amongst the government and people as well as to delegated bodies. There are numerous arguments for a codified constitution being introduced in the UK such as that it would offer a better protection of rights for the people and prevent an over mighty government. Calls for constitutional reform were particularly prominent in Blair's first term of government, as this was promised in the Labour Party manifesto of 1997. Arguments against adopting a codified constitution such as that it could lead to judicial tyranny are outweighed by arguments for it.