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The UK Now Needs a Written Constitution - Essay Example

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The long lasting doctrine for parliamentary sovereignty in Britain, which has become almost synonymous to the British concept of democracy, can be regarded as a principal reason behind the fact that the UK still does not have a written constitution. …
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The UK Now Needs a Written Constitution
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Download file to see previous pages A concise but broadly-worded constitution can help to achieve more political objectives and flexibility, but it cannot avoid conflicts between legislature and judiciary. Moreover, Britain’s integration in the European Union calls for clearer and codified legal arrangements for the country. Hence, there is the general feeling today that the UK now needs a fully written constitution.
Arguments against a Written Constitution
As early as the 1970s, Lord Halisham asserted that the UK required a written constitution to protect the country from a possible takeover by the communists particularly at the level of lawmaking and policy manipulation. In the view of the worldwide agenda of Soviet expansionism and ideological intrusion inside the British intelligentsia, such a possibility could not be ruled out too. However, situation changed dramatically in the 1990s, and today the communist threat does not appear to be materialistic any more. Further, the renowned legal expert Barber comments that
“The United Kingdom is in the unusual position of having an unwritten constitution that works passably well—sufficiently well, at least, to allow us to consider whether we want a new constitution.”
Critics of a written constitution for the UK hold that such an arrangement may lead to serious disruption of the functionality of legislature and judiciary both alike....
power to decide or enforce fix tenure parliaments5 or command how a minister should behave overriding the directives of the already existing Ministerial Code.6 7 Britain’s integration in the European Union is another important issue in this sphere. Presently, Britain has a highly undefined relationship with the EU, since the unwritten constitution provides it with an opportunity of not codifying the fundamental tenets of its foreign policy. In the case R. v Secretary of State for Transport Ex. p. Factortame (No. 2)8, the House of Lords did not effectively clarify the legal dimensions of the relationship between the British and EU legal practices. With relation to this case, the position of the UK merchant shipping legislation framework9 has been left largely unclear vis-a-vis the EU specifications. Similarly, there are certain points of conflict and confusion regarding the human rights laws10, effectiveness of European laws inside the UK11, etc. Some legal experts consider these sorts of vagueness actually provide enough flexibility even inside the orbit of European influence and eliminate the risk of forced political choices.12 13 14 Reasons to have a Written Constitution A written constitution would not only involve codification of the existing rules and conventions but also provide with an opportunity to reform the constitutional framework of the country as a whole. A written constitution would curb the excessive powers of the Parliament and safeguard the popular interests in front of aggressive political constitutionalism. Contextually, “The realisation that parliamentarians had the power to fix their own remuneration and their evident incompetence in managing their expenses gave substance to the view that a fundamental review of our constitutional ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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