Peoplesay the United Kingdom doesn’t have a constitution, however that is not true. Theuk doesn’t have a written constitution as in a document of fundamentalimportance called ‘the constitution’ with specific rules written. A constitutionis something that sets ground rules so that things can work effectively, itestablishes the authority that different centres of powers have. e.
g. rulesthat say who is responsible for doing certain things, what happens when they gowrong and how things should be carried out.Although Britain doesn’t have a codified constitution,it has an unwritten constitution which is formed of court judgments,convections and acts of parliament. A constitution is there to anticipateissues that can arise, constitutions also possess a large number of differentcharacteristics that are different from regular laws.
A constitution is also away of controlling and legitimising. The uk is a constitutional monarchy, “Aconstitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as headof state within the parameters of a written (i.e., codified), unwritten (i.e.
,uncodified) or blended constitution.” The monarch’s role in parliament is to givefinal approval to new laws that may be introduced within the UK however themonarch does not run the government. There are different types of constitutions,there are unitary/federal constitutions, flexible/rigid, written/unwritten.
Traditionally,the UK is a very good example of a unitary constitution, it is seen as aunitary constitution because of the dominance of Westminster, the system is governedconstitutionally as one unit with one constitutional legislature. The unitarygovernmental system has a central part that controls everything. The UK is not afederal constitution, a federal system has two parallel sources of power thatwork together to make everything work. The UK constitution is very flexible andsome may argue that is it too flexible.
Some people like the UK’s approach toconstitution because of how flexible It is as the flexibility offers easy changewhereas if it was rigid it would be harder to impose change. There are seven main sources that arecombined in order to create the UK constitution, without these components itwould not run like it does. Legislation, the common law, the laws and customsof parliament, academic writings, constitutional convections, the royal andfinally the European union/ the council of Europe.
There are some obvious advantages to the UKconstitution like certainty and clarity. I think the main advantage isdemocratic legitimacy however I will state that advantages and disadvantagesvery much depend on your perspective and interpretation. There are three main principles of the UKconstitution, the rule of law, parliamentary sovereignty and the separation ofpowers. Parliamentary sovereignty is what the queen enacts in parliament. Albert Venn dicey was a Britishconstitutional theorist and I found his definition of parliamentary sovereigntyvery interesting, “parliament can legislate on any subject matter”Separation of powers is not something thatis reflected much in our constitution, the reason for that are power hoardingsystems. The statement says that Britain lacking aconstitution is far less important than it is made out and I think this is accurateas Britain does not need a written constitution to function whereas othercountries like Australia and the united states do. Several writtenconstitutions were based on Britain’s unwritten version.
I feel like if the United Kingdom had awritten constitution it would make the other parts of the country come togetherand be more united, it would also bring the UK into line with other moderndemocracies.There are many other arguments that havebeen put forward by a lot of different people as to why the UK should have acodified constitution, one argument is that a written constitution would offerprotection from extremists because if it came to power no one could disregardthe democratic procedures. Nevertheless, conservatives have arguedthat a codified constitution is not necessary at all because the uk already hasa political system and has had it for centuries without a constitution neededto stabilize it.
There are more disadvantages to this, if the UK was to have awritten constitution now after all this time without one, it would be reallyhard to transfer all the unwritten convections into a written form as there areso many. Most importantly, I feel like if the UK hada written constitution now it would lose all the flexibility and that would notbenefit anyone as the uncodified constitution can easily adapt to changes suchas the role of the house of lords. In conclusion, I think a codifiedconstitution is the best option for constitutional reform in the uk as that willgive it bill of rights to protect its citizens from another state. Although thishasn’t been a problem in the past, things can always change and the humanrights act doesn’t provide strong protection. A lot of people argue the UKconstitution should stay unwritten and the reason behind that theory lies inthe doctrine of parliament sovereignty.