Do the Advantages of an Unwritten Constitution Outweigh Its Disadvantages?

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Do the advantages of an unwritten constitution outweigh its disadvantages? A constitution in basic terms is the rules that govern government by limiting its power. Though the establishment of laws the government sets down a basis of rules for a society and in turn a constitution is there to lay down a structure of rules intended to check and restrain government, allowing the practice of a limited government providing protection for the individual. The set of rules a constitution consists of includes that which seek to establish the powers and functions of various bodies of government, regulate the relationship between these bodies, and define the extent of civil liberties. Constitutions are a recent instalment to history as the ‘age of constitutions’ was triggered by the first written constitution formation, that of the US Constitution in 1787, coming as a solution to the rule of an absolute monarch. This was also applied to Britain as its unwritten constitution was initiated following the Bill of Rights of 1686 and Act of Settlement 1701 which both played a major role in shifting power from the monarch to parliament. Each parliamentary system has its own characteristic constitution with varying balance between written (e.g laws) and unwritten rules (e.g customs), and therefore all constitutions are a mixture of both written and unwritten constitutions, none being entirely one. Constitutions branch out into three types unitary and federal (local and national), rigid and flexible (requires complex parliamentary procedure or simple parliamentary discussion to modify) and most prominently codified and uncodified (written and unwritten). Unwritten constitutions arise from customs and traditions, with a unique character which evolved throughout the country’s history, while the written one is preserved in law, after being created at one single moment. However the distinction between the two is not completely clear. No codified constitution consists entirely of formal written rules that are legally enforced, as it’s impossible for them to define all aspects of constitutional practice, leading to the procedure of unwritten customs occurring. Furthermore no constitution is solely made of rules of behavioural conduct, and even the unwritten UK constitution does have many written materials, especially as statue law is the most leading source of it. The aim of this essay is to fully analyse and examine in detail the advantages and disadvantages associated with a society bound to a codified constitution and one using an uncodified one. I will be arguing against the claims according to which only a written constitution is a proper one as it fully meets its purpose of limiting government’s power responding with two extensive arguments evolving from the several minor arguments I will make beforehand, saying that a written one would lead to a tyranny of judges and overly independent politicians, and limiting governments power could be achieved through other means, ending the disadvantages of a uncodified constitution only leaving its outweighing advantages. A codified constitution exists as a single authoritative document with an introduction stating the basic concepts of the government system. This is followed by a detailed explanation of the responsibilities, powers and purposes of the main bodies of government. A statement defining the legal extent of civil liberties including rights and freedom is also included as a bill of rights on the document. A large majority of countries especially the liberal democratic states have codified constitutions. Written constitutions have three structures. The document has authority and constitutes the highest law in the country, obligating all political bodies including the ones which produce local minor laws. This creates a doubled layered legal structure...
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