Does Britain Have A Constitution

August 25, 2017 Philosophy

A fundamental law is traditionally a individual written or codified papers a family to that of the US Constitution, that works to underpin the political procedure of a state. As the British Constitution is un-codified, one would presume its phantasy. Yet, the British Fundamental law can be found in a many figure of topographic points, the Bill of Rights 1689, Court Judgements, Parliamentary Conventions and Royal Prerogatives. Peter Hennessy ( Peter Hennessy, 1995, The Hidden Wiring: Unearthing the British Constitution, London, Indigo ) quotes Queen Elizabeth II “ The British Constitution has ever been Perplexing and ever will be ” .

The Doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty plays a major function in the British Constitution ; this Constitutional rule holds Parliament as the ultimate authorization in Britain, utilizing this philosophy one can pull a analogue to the US Constitution ‘s ‘Separation of Powers ‘ ( Arts. I, II and III ) this highlights Britain ‘s Constitution, and although non written/codified it still seeks to put out the powers of Parliament, of these powers outlined in the Constitution, Lord Hailsham advocated a written Constitution “ aˆ¦one which limits the powers of Parliament and provides a agency of implementing those restrictions ” ( Q. Hogg-Lord Hailsham,21st October 1976, The Dimbleby Lecture, ‘Elective Dictatorship ‘ , The Listener, London, BBC ) believing the current Constitution was “ have oning out ” . From Hailsham ‘s words we can deduce that many believe that the Constitution of Britain can non be called a Constitution unless written.

However the establishments of the Constitution brand for a differing statement, Common Law includes judicial determinations and royal privileges e.g. to fade out Parliament, and outlines Parliaments actions. Conventions, act as the regulations of Parliament, Harrison and Boyd pull our attending to the “ Salisbury Convention ” ( Harrison and Boyd, 2006, The Changing Constitution, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press ) another major convention is that of Royal Assent, in order for Bills to go through through Parliament, the Monarch must O.K. them, Conventions act as the cheques and balances of Parliament. Not written in a individual papers the Constitution is still working to sketch to procedure of Parliament. The Fundamental law is besides shaped by Works of Authority, Bill Jones ( Jones et al, 2007, Politics UK, Seventh Edition, Essex, Pearson ) negotiations of A.V.Dicey ‘s ‘An debut to the Study of the Law of the Constitution ‘ and how ‘of the clip ‘ it was, “ ensuing in reading on unsure facets of the Constitution ” . Most late Tam Dalyell ‘s ‘West Lothian Question ‘ has changed the British Constitution, opening it up to Devolution. Finally, Statute Law, made up of Acts of Parliament ; one can impute Statute Law to the Amendments of the US Constitution, as Statute Law frequently seeks to alter the manner in which Parliament works or the manner in which Britain is governed, e.g. The Parliament Act of 1911 and The Scotland Act 1998. Jones concludes that “ Statute Law is the pre-eminent of the four sourcesaˆ¦because of the philosophy of Parliamentary Sovereignty ” ( ibid ) . Therefore, Britain may non hold a statute Fundamental law, in a individual papers, but its establishments work as one to bring forth a similar result to that of a statute Fundamental law, to sketch the workings of Parliament.

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Many believe the UK lacks a Fundamental law, particularly after the evident displacement towards ‘Federalism ‘ without a statute Constitution. Britain ‘s Constitutional state of affairs is more common to a Unitary State, non a Federal State where statute Fundamental laws take clasp. However, since 1973 Britain along with its parliamentary Sovereignty resembles a Federal state. The connection of the EEC in 1973, saw the faux pas of Parliamentary Sovereignty, as EEC Law/Policy shortly over ran UK Law/Policy. This was most apparent in the Factortame Case ( 1991 ) , Thatcher tried to hold Spanish Fishermen runing in British Waterss ; her Parliamentary action shortly came under fire from the EU, whom ruled National jurisprudence to be put aside by Community/EU jurisprudence, “ Costa vs. ENEL ” ( Reestman, Jan Herman, 01/2005, Primacy of Union Law, European Constitutional Law, Issue 1, pp104-05 ) . In kernel Britain ‘s Parliamentary Sovereignty had been displaced by the EU, and its evident Federal Nature fuelled the ‘no-Constitution ‘ statement. Even more so with New Labour ‘s, sign language of the ECHR Devolution Policy, which saw subdivisions of the UK awarded single Parliaments ( e.g. Scotland Act 1998 ) with different ‘enumerated powers ‘ , and British Courts accountable to the ECHR, therefore the statement Britain has no Constitution, as its un-codified nature allowed other provinces to run roughshod over its Sovereignty.

To reason, there have been many actions such as Devolution and the EU ‘s Sovereignty that frame Britain ‘s un-codified Constitution. However, even the most statute of Constitutions i.e. USA ‘s, have been attacked from external organic structures such as the UN, i.e. Iraq War. In footings of the UK ‘s Constitution, it may non be written/codified, but its establishments still outline the procedure of authorities, therefore transporting out the work of a Constitution. As Birch said “ There is no deficiency of commissariats sing the establishments of governmentaˆ¦What is missing is an important statement of dealingss between these institutions. ” ( A. Birch, The British system of authorities, 1993, Ninth Edition, London, Harper Collins Academic )


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