The Constitution of the United Kingdom

Topics: United Kingdom, Law, Constitution Pages: 3 (966 words) Published: November 27, 2014
The Constitution of the United Kingdom is creaking.  Based on unwritten conventions and an ineffectual separation of powers the government fails to be truly accountable.  The House of Lords remains an anachronism and our membership of the European Union raises fundamental questions relating to the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty.  Discuss. There are several arguments applicable to the context of the constitution of the United Kingdom (UK); the effect of the UK constitution not being composed of written or codified rules, the doctrine of rule of law as put forward by Professor Albert Venn Dicey in ‘The Law of the Constitution’ 1 and the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty and the effects of the new Labour government’s encouragement of devolution, joining of the European Union (EU) and suggested reform of the House of Lords thereon. lism, as in the United States.

The UK constitution is comprised of unwritten conventions and rules, though the Bill of Rights 1689 has provided the basis for the legislative powers of Parliament and common law for the powers of the Monarch. Dicey was of the view that the UK constitution, although being unwritten, was based upon the principles of the legal sovereignty of Parliament and the rule or supremacy of law. However, there is the argument that this form of constitution, being without legally enforceable guarantees cannot fulfil the definition of a constitution 2.  Dicey’s view was that the rule of law stated that firstly, individuals could not be subject to a wide discretionary legislative power, that everyone would have the same fair treatment in the courts, and that as there was no written constitution, that constitutional law was the “result of the judicial decisions determining the rights of private persons in particular cases brought before the courts”. 1 [1885], 10th edition

2 Vernon Bogdanor in “Essays on British Government”: ‘The Politics and the Constitution’ (Dartmouth 1996) 3 [1933] 309-310
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