Whether the UK should import a constitution of its own has long been a subject of debate, particularly when questioning whether the benefits of a written constitution would outweigh the potential dangers of disrupting a system which has evolved over many centuries, and one which has worked considerably well.
Coping Without a Constitution
The UK has had an uninterrupted history of continuous constitutional development which pre-dates 1066. The country has evolved alongside its constitution which has been historically made up of the Magna Carta (1215); the Bill of Rights (1689), and the Reform Act (1832), and more recently derived from a variety o
f legal sources such as statutes. A key feature in the argument for those who oppose the importing of a constitution is the disruption the constitution may cause in terms of parliamentary sovereignty and the delicate balance which has long been established between the government and the judiciary. Indeed, the evidence that Britain is one of the longest ruling democracies is a testament to a legal system lacking a codified constitution and one that allows parliament to reign supreme.
Perhaps the most convincing argument is one that stems from the idea that parliamentary sovereignty allows for Parliament to pass any law by a simple majority vote. This allows for a highly adaptable and flexible legal framework which accounts for inevitable changes in the country’s social, political and environmental context, particularly when compared to the U.S constitution where proposed amendments need to go through many different stages before being accepted as a law.
Advocates For Change
Naturally, those advocating that the UK should adopt a codified constitution would point to the importance of promoting individual civil liberties which would be better protected and more defined under one accessible transcript. Also, those advocates would argue for the equal distribution of power shadow the U.S as a model for which the equal balance, for the most part, provides a balanced, and equally weighted system elected by the people and largely representative of the people.
The Unwillingness To Reform
Therefore, despite the fact that the UK is only one of three democracies which lacks a written constitution, it has been politically stable for a country with a government which has been democratic, transparent, and one that has demonstrated a keen willingness to uphold human rights and social welfare. Therefore, we must question whether it is necessary for a politically stable country, with a fully functioning and uncodified constitution to take steps andrisks this balance in the pursuit of codification. Finally, Taking Britain’s unique historical background into account, we must question whether it would be at all feasible to draft a codified constitution, and if so, who would be the decider of which elements of UK or EU law would be incorporated.