UK Politics Constitution

The UK currently has an uncodified constitution. Arguably, this needs to change to a more codified constitution to which I agree with.

There are several advantages to a codified constitution. Firstly, a codified constitution results in a two tier legal system which separates between ordinary law and higher law which is more pivotal to the constitution. The constitutional higher law is protected by entrenchment. Entrenchment means that more than a simple majority is required, for example a supermajority in the US (2/3 of Senate, House and ¾ of all states).

This has the benefit of protecting laws that are key to the constitution and not allowing a tyranny of the majority. If it was only a small majority in uncodified constitution fundamental laws to the constitution could be changed. This means the constitution is more rigid and less likely to change, which has the benefits of certainty and confidence for the public that the way the country operates is unlikely to change massively.

Furthermore, codified constitutions are fully written into one single document and there are less grey areas in terms of what is and isn’t part of the constitution, in comparison to the UK system. This is good as it reduces uncertainty and ensures all parts of the constitution are legally binding, whereas in the UK, uncodified constitution the inclusion of things like conventions and works of authority can create issues as they aren’t legally binding. As a result of this, codified constitution can give greater authority and power to the Judiciary, further aiding the separation of power. This is because, the court can more easily determine whether constitutional laws have been broken or not as they are clearly stated on the document.

On the other hand, there are also advantages to the uncodified constitution. Although, the lack of entrenchment can bring issues, it has the benefit of making the system flexible and allowing the system to adapt quicker to the times as all laws can be changed with a simple majority. The issue with the entrenchment system can be seen with USAs’ super majority idea- very few constitutional changes ever occur, whereas in UK, the governments have carried out multiple; 14 constitutional changes were attempted along in the coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

As well as this, the constitution not being drawn into one document prevents the judicial branch having too great power. The balance of power is arguable better as a result of a more limited Judicial review in comparison to places with uncodified constitution such as the US and Germany where the Judiciary branch has potentially too much power (where 9 judges are appointed for life by the president in the case of the US). In the UK, through parliament law and common law there is a system that can scrutinise those in authority but it does not give far-reaching powers to unelected and unaccountable judges.

In conclusion, the arguments presented above highlight the issues and the positives with the two constitutional types. Overall, I feel the UK should become more of a codified constitution mainly due to the fact of entrenchment. Although giving all laws the same status has its merit with the UK Government system, it can result in elective dictatorship where a lack of entrenched laws can be very dangerous and lead to governments abusing their powers and passing major changes to the constitution which may not be in the public interest.

The issue of the codified constitution resulting in potentially too much power with the judges is small, as the judges appointed generally are experienced and ones there to provide justice rather than be bias. Thus I believe the UK should start conforming to a codified constitution.