Should Britain have a codified constitution?


Should Britain have a codified constitution?


  • It would clarify the nature of the political system to citizens, especially after changes such as devolution and House of Lords reform.
  • Britain would have a two-tier legal system and so constitutional laws would be more clearly identified
  • The process of judicial review would be more precise and transparent.
  • Liberals argue that it would have the effect of better safeguarding citizens' rights.
  • It might prevent the further drift towards excessive executive power.
  • (The UK needs to clarify its relationship with the European Union.(Due to Brexit, this argument may no longer have any bearing on clarification between British and EU law.))
  • It would bring the UK into line with most other modern democracies.


  • The uncodified constitution is flexible and can easily adapt to changing circumstances such as referendum use and the changing role of the House of Lords. If codified, constitutional changes would be difficult and time-consuming. It can also respond quickly to a changing political climate.
  • Conservatives argue that it is simply not necessary - the UK has enjoyed a stable political system without a constitution for several centuries.
  • As the UK operates under a large number of unwritten conventions, especially in relation to the monarchy and prerogative powers, it would be very difficult to transfer them into written form.
  • The lack of constitutional constraints allows executive government to be strong and decisive.
  • A codified constitutio would bring unelected judges into the political area


Britain should have a codified constitution because it will ensure the people's political rights and it will limit the powers that come with Parliamentary Sovereignty.