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How Rigid Should a States Constitution be?

Info: 1188 words (5 pages) Essay
Published: 25th Jun 2019

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Jurisdiction / Tag(s): International Law

The state is the political organisation which is governed by a group of people known as the government, when a government of a state is mentioned it means basically, the executive/head of the government either the president or the prime minister, the legislatives, which are the law makers and the judiciary. But even with all these the government cannot run the state/nation according to their own notions, there must be certain rules and principles on the basis and under which the government can run the state. These set of principles are unknown as the states constitution. This essay will look at the history of constitution, some different classifications of constitution giving emphasis to the rigidity and flexibility of state’s constitution, and will conclude by explaining how inflexible should a state’s constitution be. There are different classifications of constitution, these include, the written and unwritten, codified and uncodified, Rigid and flexible forms of constitution to mention but a few of them. [1] There are other different form of constitution which may not be of interest to this essay like the effective or nominal constitutions and federal or unitary ones [2].

To start with the classifications, the written constitutions are constitutions that are protected by the laws, while the unwritten constitutions are organic; this means that the written constitutions are created by humans while the unwritten constitutions are natural, in such a way that they have been growing through history [3] .But majority of states now have the written constitution, out of the liberal democracies there are only 3 states that do not possess a written constitution (UK, New Zealand and Israel), and some other non democracies like Oman and The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [4] . But to make it clear, no constitution is wholly written and similarly no constitution is wholly unwritten, so every constitution has a mixture of both written and unwritten set of laws [5] .

France and Germany can be an exception of such balance of written and unwritten rules. Because they both have a constitutional document which gives considerable details of the powers and responsibilities of their political institutions in a very clear written rules [6] , unlike other liberal democracies that hardly mention political parties or interest groups [7] .Similarly other constitutions (not entirely written), place considerable stress on formal meetings, like in the UK, where it gives its ministers the ability to exercise powers of the Royal monarch and their responsibility to the parliament is based on convention(through formal meetings) [8] .

Moving on to the codified and uncodified forms of constitutions are another classification. A codified constitution is the type that is set out in a single document, which is mostly known as the written constitution [9] . Countries like the United States of America have a codified constitution [10] .Codified constitutions are entrenched in nature so they are difficult to amend. The document is considered the highest law of the state the possess it. Uncodified constitutions, Is the type of constitution in which no single document in which constitution can be found it is in a variety of sources such as statute law, common law, political convention etc, these type of constitutions are very few in number, such as the UK, they have different characteristics, some of these characteristics include, more flexible to amend and the legislative sovereignty, the legislature has all the right to make and unmake laws. [11] For example in New Zealand, in the 1980’s and 90s there was a permission to recast the electoral system and government administration [12] , where in most other countries like the United States and Spain there must be constitutional amendment procedures before such changes are made.

The different forms of classification make a distinction between a flexible and a rigid constitution. Codified constitutions are likely to be quite rigid because there provisions are in some ways inflexible in the higher law [13] . Similarly, an uncodified constitution appears to be flexible because laws can be changed through ordinary legislative process. However, there is no relationship between written and rigidity or unwritten and flexibility of a constitution. Yet the flexibility of a constitution is not comparative to the formality of its procedures and rules [14] . In states like Australia, Denmark, Ireland and Spain referendums for example are used to obtain the public approval for a constitutional reform or amendments [15] , while, in other cases special majorities must be achieved in the legislative as the case in Germany, were for an amendment of its constitution, there must be two third supports in both houses of Parliament the Bundesrat and Bundestag. And in the United States of America also two-third majorities in both houses of congress, and constitutional amendments must be approved by the quarter of the state [16] .

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International law, also known as public international law and the law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. International law is studied as a distinctive part of the general structure of international relations.

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