Does the UK need a codified/written constitution?

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  • Created by: Sophie
  • Created on: 12-04-13 19:50
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  • Does the UK need a written/codified constitution?
    • NO
      • Traditional constitution known as the Westminster model - claims this is how it is supposed to operate,
      • System has worked well for hundreds of years and provided liberty and stability. Reflects history and enduring values of British people.
      • Provides for strong and effective government. Includes doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty with power centralised in cabinet.
      • No widespread demand for or interest in change.
      • Flexibility allows adjustments to meet new demands when required.
      • Peoples rights have been protected and a written constitution does not guarantee these rights eg. US, Zimbabwe and Russia.
      • Hard to devise constitution that pleases all.
    • YES
      • Nowhere can easily be seen as from so many sources. Remove uncertainty about specific roles eg. Monarch.
      • Some say it is outdated, inefficient and undemocratic - most conventions dating back to pre-modern era with idea of hereditary power.
      • Tendency for executive dominance eg. Blair removed session of Q time. It would constrain their power.
      • No separation of powers - executive exercises great control over legislative process and local/subnational government.
      • Would protect the independence of the judiciary.
      • Would provide up-to-date statement of rights of people which is more relevant that European Convention.
      • Key laws would be entrenched (i.e. firmly established and difficult to amend.)
      • Easier for courts to interpret what is lawful behaviour and uphold constitution. Atm judicical review limited as no definite criteria for determing what is unconventional.
      • Would set out clearer values and structures of the political system.
      • Would prevent any constitutional crises eg. (hung parliament 2010 where no single party had majority.)


Old Sir


This is a very useful overview of the main arguments for and against the creation of a codified constitution. Students might find this a useful starting-point from which to develop a more detailed argument, using case studies to address AO2, (evaluation and analysis).

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