Should The Uks Constitution Remain Uncodified Essay

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These notes are aimed at people studying for Edexcel A Level Politics, module 2.

Originally submitted by mattey on TSR Forums.

Should the UK;s constitution be codified 40 MARKS ] 15:10, 19 April 2010 (BST). ( This is a rough answer and should be edited. Make sure you extend the paragraphs with fuller details. and give clear examples.) A codified constitution is one which is written in a clear, concise and organised way in a single document. Currently Britain has an uncodified constitution. Britain should remain with an uncodified constitution as it is flexible and therefore can adapt to other changes in law easily. Arguably the system has worked well for many years; however having a codified constitution would clarify the nature of the constitution, so therefore people may become more politically aware, in recent times political affiliation has decreased as shown by the voter turnout at general elections.

The UK’s constitution is flexible. This allows the constitution to adapt naturally to changing circumstances; this is shown by the incorporation of the European convention on human rights act into British law, and by devolution. If the UK’s constitution were to be codified then it would make it more difficult to incorporate laws such as the Lisbon Treaty, Welsh Government Act, Scotland Act etc.

However if the UK’s government were to adopt a codified constitution then it would clarify the nature of the UK’s constitution. The general public would become aware of political issues. E.g. in America there is a bill of rights, every citizen can purchase their own rights. This may be the reason for the increase in voter turnout at elections. ( paragraph needs to be extneded)

If Britain were to adopt a codified constitution then extensive personal freedoms are offered to the UK citizens without the need for codification, or entrenchment. In the United Kingdom we only have minor restrictions on freedom of speech such as incitement to racial hatred. Rights have been advanced on race, gender, disability and sexuality via acts of parliament. The Human rights act was introduced by labour. This act gives human rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of speech and movement.

There are on the other hand weaker safeguards for individuals and minority interests. Despite steps in the right direction as a result of the introduction of the European Convention on Human. Though the Human Rights act 1998 rights are not adequately protected since they lack entrenchment in our political system. For e.g. civil liberties receive little protection, this was illustrated by Blair’s extension of the suspected terrorists without the need for trial and ASBO’s, they have created a criminal class of innocent civilians. So if the UK’s constitution were to be codified then at least our civil liberties would be protected.

The constitution although not codified cannot be ignored. There are no special procedures for amending the constitution. However any future government would be unwise to reverse any future as referendum e.g. devolution. As devolution was bought in by a referendum. Although David Cameron claims that he doesn’t agree with devolution and would like to change it. But he would have to hold a referendum to reverse this.

In contrast though without clear procedures to change a constitution like in France or Germany where they has to be a referendum. There is always a danger that an over powerful government could repeal constitutional change. E.g. conservatives have threatened to repeal or alter the Human Rights Act if they come into power. The reason for this is due to many cases such as the Philip Lawrence case. He was a head teacher who got stabbed outside his school, but his murder could not be deported because due the HRA he had no family back home.

Arguably the system has worked well for many years so there is no need to codify the constitution. There have been no violent revolutions for many years and also no major political unrest. Personal freedoms are offered to the UK constitution.

As the UK is becoming more integrated with other Western democracies and especially the EU. Britain should follow then. Most developed countries have a codified constitution or part codified. E.g. Canada and New Zealand have a part codified constitution because it protects their basic rights. So if Britain adopted a codified constitution then at least our civil liberties would not be at risk by an over powerful government.

So in conclusion I believe that the UK’s constitution should remain uncodified as it has served Britain well for many years and it continues to do so. If the constitution were to become codified then it would make it harder to pass laws as shown in America. It is also flexible which means that it can adapt to other changes in law e.g. the Maastricht treaty was adopted in 1993.


At the moment i would grade this a low C.


Just to let you know that the Mark scheme has been changed. it goes as follows - 5 , 10 , 25 and for unit 2 40 marks.


Article by TSR User on Thursday 15 February 2018

Should the Uk Retain Its Uncodified Constitution Essay

1369 WordsFeb 23rd, 20136 Pages

Should the UKs constitution remain uncodified?

A constitution is a set of rules which may be written or unwritten, establishes the distribution of power in a political system, the limits of government jurisdiction, the rights of citizens and the method of amending the constitution itself. An uncodified constitution is unwritten, or at least not written all in one document. The constitution in the UK is found in a variety of sources which are mainly statute and common law, conventions and traditions, European law etc. There are arguments for the UK to both retain an uncodified constitution and to change this to a codified constitution like the USA. Some of the arguments for retaining the uncodified system are that; codification produces…show more content…

However if a codified constitution will introduce judicial tyranny then it defeats the object of reducing concentrated power. In the UK currently the people have the ability the put pressure on the government to make changes to the constitution for example the powers of the House of Lords were reduced through both Parliament acts of 1911 and 1949 because of a growing belief that an unelected second chamber should no longer have the right to block the policies of an elected government. This was recently changed again so that after the hereditary line to the House of Lords stop after those currently there die. However in a codified constitution judges would be the people policing the constitution, meaning that pressure from the people wouldn’t mean anything because the judiciary are not accountable to the people. On the other hand a codified constitution would clarify the nature of the political system to its citizens. Currently in the UK the constitution is not easy to find which makes it difficult for the UKs citizens to learn the nature of the political system but also all the rights that as a citizen of the UK you should enjoy. For example in the USA the bill of rights is a part of their constitution and every citizen can gain access to these rights. In the USA the whole constitution is on one document and all citizens have access to it. This may make it easier for the UK as a whole to understand the British

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