Discuss the case for and against a written Constitution for the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is one of the few major democratic countries in the world that does not have a written constitution. Instead, its constitutional arrangements are made up of a range of sources, including Acts of Parliament, common law, and conventions. This essay will discuss the case for and against a written constitution for the United Kingdom.

One of the main arguments for a written constitution is that it would provide clarity and certainty about the rights and responsibilities of citizens and the powers of the government. A written constitution would set out the fundamental principles of the state and the legal framework within which the government operates. This would make it easier for citizens to understand their rights and responsibilities and hold the government accountable.

A written constitution could also help to safeguard against the abuse of power by the government. It would establish clear limits on the powers of the government and provide a framework for the protection of individual rights and freedoms. This could help to prevent the government from violating citizens' rights and ensure that the government is accountable to the people.

Moreover, a written constitution could help to promote social cohesion and national identity. It would set out the values and principles that underpin the state, providing a sense of common purpose and identity among citizens. This could help to strengthen social cohesion and promote a shared sense of national identity.

However, one of the main arguments against a written constitution is that it would be inflexible and difficult to amend. A written constitution would require a complex and time-consuming process to amend, which could make it difficult to respond to changing circumstances and address emerging issues. This could lead to a lack of adaptability and a failure to address evolving social, political, and economic challenges.

Another argument against a written constitution is that it could undermine parliamentary sovereignty. The UK's constitution is based on the principle of parliamentary sovereignty, which means that Parliament has supreme law-making power. A written constitution could limit the powers of Parliament and constrain its ability to respond to changing circumstances.

Moreover, a written constitution could lead to greater judicial activism. A written constitution would give the courts a greater role in interpreting and enforcing the constitution, which could lead to greater judicial activism and politicisation of the judiciary. This could undermine the principle of separation of powers and the democratic legitimacy of the government.

In conclusion, there are compelling arguments for and against a written constitution for the United Kingdom. A written constitution could provide clarity and certainty about the rights and responsibilities of citizens and the powers of the government, safeguard against the abuse of power, and promote social cohesion and national identity. However, it could also be inflexible and difficult to amend, undermine parliamentary sovereignty, and lead to greater judicial activism. Therefore, the decision about whether to adopt a written constitution requires careful consideration of the benefits and drawbacks of different constitutional arrangements.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
INSEAD
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham
ESSEC Business School

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law

    Terminology

    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

    Exam-focused

    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.