Politics, Unit 2, Uncodified Constitution

Cards each outlining an argument in favour/ a benefit of an uncodified constitution.

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  • Created by: Eleanor
  • Created on: 01-06-11 18:42

Effective Government

  • An uncodified constitution does not bind Parliament. Each new Parliament in the UK is sovereign, and therefore the laws of it's predecessors can be repealed if they are no longer suitable in an emergency.
  • Has the ability to act decisively as it does not have to contend with a Supreme Court as in the USA. E.g. swift passing of anti-terror legislation following London Bombings 7/7/05.
  • Pass laws quickly for good of people, e.g. NHS following WWII.
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Parliamentary Sovereignty

  • An uncodified constitution means that Parliament is sovereign as it is bound by no higher authority, no rules and no checks on its power.
  • In the USA, the Supreme Court can overrule legislation by declaring it incompatable with the Constitution. The Supreme Court consists of unelected judges, and so being able to overrule Congress is highly undemocratic.
  • With an uncodified constitution, the judiciary cannot strike down legislation as unconstitutional.Therefore the UK has a depoliticised judicary.
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Lack of Political Bias

  • Constitutional documents invariably place certain values above others.
  • This can cause bias and conflict, dependant upon who wrote the constitution originally.
  • A constitution that cannot be altered will always have these bias, whereas an uncodified constitution can adapt and be less biased.
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  • An uncodified constitution is developed and added to as and when society requires it to be. This means it grows and develops over time.
  • It also means that changes occur because the people want them, which is democratic, as opposed to the USA, whereby even if Congress voted in favour of a change unanimously, the Supreme Court could still overrule it.
  • The political system becomes workable and is adaptable to society.
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  • Government and the constitution can adapt without many major upheavals or violent revolutions.
  • The Constitution can still have written elements (statutes) and can be changed, such as with the 1911 and 1949 Parliament Acts.
  • These changes can be made without undue delay or confusion.
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