Analyze the Quote “Codifying the [UK] Constitution Is Either Unattainable or Pointless” Joshua Rosenberg, Law Society Gazette, July 2014
Reminding us that the UK, Israel and New Zealand are the only democracies in the world that have not codified their constitutions, the MPs are seeking public responses by 31 December, so that they can make recommendations before the general election.
Should it start with a preamble referring to ‘fundamental rights’ and if yes, what is the scope of those rights? This and many more difficult questions would have to be answered. Another problem with codified and supreme constitution is that it is likely to impinge on the separation of powers and create significant tensions between legislative and judiciary. Any Act of Parliament, voted for by majority of MPs, could be screened for compliance with constitution by judges who are not democratically elected. This would mean that there is still a possibility that there will be ‘elective dictatorship’, albeit in a court not in the Parliament. Although it may be argued that the constitutional court would add an additional ‘layer’ of protection, it may also mean that this potential benefit is offset by a decrease in legislative efficiency, increased controversy, delays and costs. On the other hand it may be argued that judges are impartial, able to make well reasoned and necessary but unpopular decisions. Given the above, it appears that there is no need to make a fundamental change to the system which has been working successfully for over 300 years. The fact that the majority of countries have a written constitution is not an indication that UK should follow the same path. Furthermore, it appears that both theoretical and practical problems involved in codification and the extinction of the doctrine of Parliamentary Supremacy well outweighs the potential benefits.
The way forward is clear: we need another Constitutional Reform Act.
Elliott, C., & Quinn, F. (2007). English legal system (8th ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson Education Limited.
King, A. (2001). Does the United Kingdom still have a constitution? London, UK: Sweet & Maxwell.
Martin, E. (2003). Oxford dictionary of law (5th edition). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.