Codified Constitution Analysis

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The United Kingdom is one of three states that are said to not have a codified constitution, with no single document defining the fundamental principles upon which the country operates. It is instead composed of Acts of Parliament that have been deemed ‘constitutional statutes’ , judgements of the court, various constitutional conventions that are largely political in nature, influential academic writings, particular international treaties (i.e the European Union) and royal prerogative. Anthony King summarily defines the relationship between a country’s constitution and the codified document often termed ‘The Constitution’. The full constitution of any country is rarely, if ever, defined in a single prevailing document (what King terms the…show more content…
They both operate on a similar party system, with the leader of the relevant party becoming the head of the government. Large parts of these electoral processes are completely unconfirmed by statute or document, existing only as political conventions – such as the office of Prime Minister, or the ‘primaries’ held in the US for the purposes of determining party leaders. King’s commentary on the overstatement of a capital-C Constitution’s importance to the United Kingdom is, therefore, a valid one. When the function, purpose and substance of a codified and uncodified constitution are the same, with differences arising only when it pertains to the execution and maintenance of the constitution, there can be said to be no great issue with the United Kingdom’s uncodified constitution as compared to that of a codified one. The rights and powers established within the differing systems are fundamentally the same, and thus the argument becomes one of constitutional implementation. Therefore, the question arises of whether or not the United Kingdom should pursue constitutional reform in the form of codifying our existing…show more content…
The rights of the people may be enumerated in peace time and withdrawn in times of conflict, providing a greater degree of governmental control over the country. This is all a result of the uncodified constitution, and by extension, parliamentary sovereignty. However, the lack of a codified constitution and the resulting dearth of constitutional supremacy have problems of their own. Albert Dicey’s writings on parliamentary sovereignty encapsulate some of the greatest issues with the uncodified nature of the constitution. Dicey reduced the issue of parliamentary sovereignty to three primary principles , each of which demonstrate the potential for constitutional crisis and instability in the United Kingdom. The first principle states that ‘Parliament is the supreme law making body and may enact any laws on any subject matter’. In theory, this means that there are no substantive legal limits regarding what Parliament may or may not legislate about, with only democracy acting as a foil for this power, effectively enabling Parliament to create any law no matter how absurd, impractical or unjust. As Sir Leslie Stephen said , ‘If a legislature decided that all blue-eyed babies should be murdered, the preservation of blue-eyed babies would be
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