Does the United Kingdom Have a Recognisable Constitution?
Finally, shall cross compare and analyse the differences and similarities with the US constitution, to reinforce the view that indeed the UK does have a constitution; albeit in a different form and preferential format compared to the rigidity employed in the constitutions of other states.
There has been a long tradition of strong central rule dating back to the Tudors, and since the upheavals of the 17th century constitutional development has been largely peaceful and evolutionary.
Some particular statutes are of special importance. Among them are: the Petition of Right (1628), the Bill of Rights (1689), the Parliament Act (1911), the Representation of People Acts (1918 and 1969), the Human Rights Act (1998), etc. (Leyland, 2012, 9. 39-40). The next source is common law, which means that the decisions that judges make in a legal case have an effect on future legal cases in this country. Certain legal cases have expanded the power of common law; for instance, Entick v Carrington put limits on the power of the Secretary of the State and the Crown to interfere with a person or property. However, legal decisions can be overruled by later statutes. After 1973, when the UK joined the European Union, its laws have also become part of the UK constitution. The laws include the European Communities Act (1972), the Treaty of Rome (1957) and the subsequent treaties and the treaty of Lisbon (2007). The treaties were incorporated into the legal system of the UK by corresponding statutes (Leyland, 2012, p. 40). The European Convention of Human Rights (1998) is also a part of the constitution. It gives a person a variety of rights and allows to sue the UK at the European Court of Human Rights in the case of offense (Huxley-Binns & Martin, 2014, p. 22-23). Because of the absence of a codified constitution, legal and academic treatises such as “The English Constitution” by Walter Bagehot become a source as well (Leyland, 2012, p. 41-42).
King, A. (2011). Codifying – or not codifying – the UK constitution: A literature review. Web.
Leyland, P. (2012). The constitution of the United Kingdom: A contextual analysis (2nd ed.). Oxford: Hart Publishing.
Martin, E. (2003). Oxford dictionary of law (5th edition). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.