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Sources of the British Constitution

Info: 1670 words (7 pages) Law Essay
Published: 6th Aug 2019

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Jurisdiction(s): UK Law

It has been argued that the UK does not have a codified constitution, because its population lacks interest in such a radical constitutional reform, and it has also been argued that UK population lacks interest in constitutional matters because it does not have a codified constitution. This work seeks to explore evidence whilst it investigates if these propositions are valid.


There are six basic sources of the British constitution and they are:

Statute Law

Common Law

Royal Prerogative


Work of Authority

Legislation of the European Union.

1First and foremost Constitution is defined as a framework of rules which dictate the way in which power is divided between the various parts of the state and relationship between the state and individual. [2] “On the other hand there are many different types of constitution, and they are the codified or uncodified, unitary or federal and they are seen as rigid or flexible”. The UK has an uncodified constitution while the U.S.A has a codified constitution. In every country they have a constitution and this is because it serves as the primary law of the land and also set up the essential support and fundamental values of the government.


A Codified constitution is a constitution which is written in one single document, it usually has the procedure for its amendment entrenched in the constitution. It is also an official document explaining the nature of the constitutional decision which is about the rules and regulation and the political system as well as the rights of citizens and governments in a codified form. Constitution is supposed to be well- established and this is because they are not easy to make changes or abolish it. [3] A codified constitution also set out the duties, powers and functions of the government institutions in the terms of ‘superior law’ and it is judiciable. The other type of constitution is the uncodified constitution.


Uncodifed constitution is also known as unwritten Constitution in which no single, formal document outlines the authority of the government. [4] ” Basically in uncodified constitution; the constitution is not reliable because the constitutional law benefits from the same status as ordinary laws. However it consists of legal statutes which are enacted, “The observation of precedents, royal prerogatives, customs and traditions” Even though the main values are important but the doctrines are not codified in a single law but yet they are still accepted by courts and the official representative like the legislators as they are required upon the government.

However In the absence of senior law, judges do not have a legal standard against which they can proclaim that the behaviour of other bodies is considered constitutional or unconstitutional.


5The UK has many reasons why they do not have a codified constitution and this is because there is a great deal of power vested in the decision-makers. As well as the new constitution, decisions are necessary to separate power more extensively. The rights of the people are under threat and also need better protection. But then again there is a broad logic sense in which we know that there are principles by which political organization work.

Whilst such principles are been threatened, there might be stronger resistance from inside and outside parliament than that would usually exist in that case.

Traditional constitution is an authoritative influence in the UK and Individual’s constitutional rules that are traditional, for example the protection of freedom of expression, superiority of cabinet, the weakness of the House of Lords and the self-determination of the judiciary are challenged not often with great unwillingness by the government.

The various [6] “constitutional scholars argue that there is such a thing as the British constitution even though there is no codified document as such”. Instead, it exists in a range of forms that might be flexible and continually developing but have adequate material to replace the moral official constitutions that other states acquired.

7Alternatively there are a lot of arguments that support the view that UK should take on a codified constitution because If a codified constitution is to establish it would be considerably have an effect on the power of government; the connection among the executive and parliament and also the relationship among judges and politicians and human being rights and freedom.

8On the argument you might think if a codified constitution can make rules clearer; yes it can because the Key constitutional rules and regulations are collected in one single document; they are more clearly defined than in an ‘unwritten constitution’ where rules and regulations have increase across the various different documents. A codified constitution would generate less misunderstanding concerning the significance of constitutional rules and greater certainty that they can be imposed.

Another argument supporting a codified constitution is incomplete government because it would cut government down to size. It would effectively stop the rule of parliamentary sovereignty and afterwards elective dictatorship. And constitutional disparity is elective dictatorship in which decision-making body that will make sure that the there is a need of governments to succeed the elections. In UK, it is reflected in the capability of a government to act in any way it pleases as long as it keeps control of the House of Commons. It would also not be likely for government to obstruct with the constitution due to the existence of ‘superior law’ protecting the constitution. The constitution can also permit for neutral understanding.


A constitution in general can weaken the government this is because the British government is accepted because of its capability to manage the legislature and also to carry out the British voting authorization without delay and perhaps to deal with unexpected situation without encountering the obstruction of a lot of constitutional restraints. The recent situation about the constitution is flexible and adaptable because the Britain has been able to adapt to the circumstance which they are use to it.

However the well established constitution or bill of rights would remove the sovereignty of parliament. And I think it would challenge the institutions of the monarch and parliament. “There is no single codified document entitled ‘The British Constitution’. Not only that, but where constitutional statutes do exist, they appear to be different from any other statutes”.

It is not likely to establish well constitutional laws and principles in the UK. As previously stated it’s mainly on account of the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. In this circumstance the doctrine means the parliament cannot be limited in its actions by the any past statute or agreement. Parliament is free to abolish or amend them by a simple majority vote.

As indicated, there are constitutional statutes in the UK, but these are not superior to any other laws. Where there is a conflict between two statutes, parliament is entirely free to decide which shall succeed.


When you looked at the argument above they are strong cases for both views concerning the constitution and whether UK should have the codified constitution or not. And like it said before in the essay they should not have the codified constitution because of its flexibility, judicial dictatorship; parliamentary sovereignty and they are all not important.

However the most essential reason is nonflexible. And by a having codified constitution it will be much harder to amend the law as well as the outdated which will change quickly in the modern society. “Yet the people that supports the codified constitutions would say that it is not too easy to change laws as it is down to understanding of the laws, there have been cases in the U.S.A were the codified constitution has been interpreted to fit in with modern society”.

In general I will say that based on the argument given above the most important argument for a codified constitution is that it gives clear rules and operate as a limiting issue on government. This essay has argued that UK should not have a codified constitution because in modern times. Example of this is the terrorism act, and it is good to have an easy way of changing laws to a certain extent rather than a rigid system, because of that the UK should not have a codified constitution.


In conclusion, there are many arguments about the codified and uncodified constitution and which have been pointed out in the essay. Also because the codified constitution is not flexible it will be hard to change it which is a main disadvantage in this modern and speedily changing environment just as much as the obscure nature of the uncodified constitution makes it subject to manipulation. The calls for reform of the UK constitution shows that the population do have an appetite for a codification in principle of the constitution but the percentage that back this concept varies.

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