(03) ‘The British constitution is becoming increasingly codified.’ Discuss. (25 marks)

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  • ‘The British constitution is becoming increasingly codified.’ Discuss.
    • various sources of the British constitution
      • Statute law
      • Conventions
      • European Law
      • Works of authority
      • Authoritative documentation
      • Major constitutional documents
      • Common Law
    • ‘codified’
      • USA
      • Set of full and authorative rules written down in one place
        • In one document
          • Can be ammended
    • 'uncodified'
      • Britian
      • Not written down in one place, mainly unwritten.
        • Traces can be found across the UK
    • growing body of codified constitutional law
      • 1998 Human Rights Act
        • provisions effectively replace much common law with respect to various freedoms
          • freedom of speech and assembly
          • freedom from arrest without trial
        • enshrines the convention in UK law
          • The HRA has increased the political role of the judges because they can now declare Acts of parliament or decisions of ministers to be incompatible with the Human Rights Act
      • 2005 Constitutional Reform Act
        • separates the judiciary from the executive and legislature by creating a Supreme Court
          • take over the judicial work of the House of Lords
            • established the Judicial Appointments Commission
      • effects of membership of the European Union
        • Social Chapter accepted by New Labour
      • These Acts of Parliament have become yardsticks for judges to review laws, ministerial decisions and local government decisions against
        • If judge decides that the law or ministerial decision is not compatible with the HRA or European law
          • then he issues a ‘certificate of incompatibility’
      • devolution legislation
        • much of which has the character of fundamental law
        • limiting the legal powers of Westminster
          • a formerly sovereign parliament
          • establishing a quasi-federal constitution
    • authoritative documentation
      • Ministerial Code
        • first published as Questions of Procedure for Ministers in 1992
          • as a set of ‘rules’ for ministers
      • The Duties and Responsibilities of Civil Servants in Relation to Ministers
        • produced by the Head of the Civil Service in 1985
          • following the Clive Ponting affair
          • became known as the Civil Service Code
    • Cabinet Manual
      • drafted by the Cabinet Office
        • under Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell
      • setting out how the government and civil service relate to the monarchy, devolved administrations and international institutions such as the European Union
    • prospect of a coalition government in 2010
      • called for constitutional clarification by the Cabinet Secretary
      • led to the Coalition Agreement for Stability and Reform
        • issued in May 2010

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