Should Britain introduce a codified constitution?
The British constitution is unwritten, although it may be less misleading to call it uncodified as various aspects of the constitution are written down. The term uncodified means the constitution is not all kept in a single document, but is spread about in various pieces of legislature. It also means British laws, policies and codes are developed through statutes, common law, convention, and recently European Union law. Although the British constitution does not have a clear set of rules in one single document, it does clearly state in various documents where political power is held, and how it is allocated.
With the constitution being uncodified it makes it very flexible and easy to alter or change. This means if a new situation has to be dealt with by policies or laws, they can quickly be changed to do so with minimal implications. All that is needed for a policy to be changed is a ‘simple act of parliament’ (essentially parliament must agree on it). Unlike written constitutions, old policies and other constitutional practices don’t make it difficult to deal with new situations because new ones can be developed when the need arises. Another argument for maintaining an uncodified constitution is that it could be said that it has served Britain well up until now, and there is no need for it to be changed. The USA is an example of how complex the process of altering a written constitution is, they have made a mere 27 amendments to their constitution since the 18th century. It may be difficult in cases like these to find laws that fit with modern day crimes and other situations that need to be dealt with by laws and policies. As our country is used to being able to change laws and policies as easily as we can, we must consider how we would deal with a codified constitution which makes it so much harder to get legislature changed.
Most codified constitutions are written to mark a new beginning in history....
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