For and against codification


For and against codification


  • Flexibility - Adapt to a changing world without major upheavals. Britain's constitution is 'organic'' and is rooted in society. Parliament can pass a new Act relatively quickly and conventions can simply develop.
  • Executive Power - government can be more powerful. Pro un-codification supporters argue that it is better to have a government that can deal with problems  without too much opposition. Relationship between government and parliament is flexible and work together. In USA, government and Congress are frequently prevented from  acting.
  • Conservative Pragmatism = Has served Britain well for centuries. No violence or major political unrest. Change has occurred naturally.Codifying would be a very difficult process. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.'
  • Democratic rule-  Good history of un-codification. Parliament is effectively check + balancing themselves. There has been no abuse of power.


  • Human rights- Need for stronger protection over individual and minority rights. HRA and ECHR don't bind on Parliament. They are sovereign and can override any legislation. In a codified constitution this would not be the case- Parliament could not pass any legislation that offended human rights protection.The status of rights in the UK is very confusing. Laws would be more clearly identified because of two- tier legal system. View of liberals.
  • Executive power- Liberals argue that there is too much executive power which : threatens individual rights, position of minorities and the influence of public opinion. Insufficient controls on what the Government does. A codified constitution would drift the power.
  • Clarity- Public awareness would be able to grow. They would be able to understand their rights better and this could cure the problem of political ignorance and apathy such as understanding devolution.
  • Modernity- Most countries have a codified constitution so we should to. Harder to have political relations with the EU. We would be able to understand the true relationship with the EU.
  • We are already gradually making our constitution more codified such as the ECHR - HRA.
  • Process of judicial review would be more precise and transparent.


Conservatives wish to retain un-codified constitution. 


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